Men leave San Diego 0-4 to begin D-I era


Northern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team traveled to San Diego to play a round-robin set of games, where everyone plays everyone, at the University of San Diego. The games began on Nov. 14 and ended on Nov. 18, the first game was against San Diego, the second against Tulsa, then Siena and Cal State Northridge.

These games were the first four season games for the NKU Norse. All four games ended in a loss. The Norse had the lead in three of those games during the last minute of the game.
“I thought we competed very well, offensively we didn’t win three games because we didn’t shoot the ball,” David Bezold, men’s basketball head coach, said. “Every time we go to the floor we’re going to be the underdog, but that doesn’t mean anything. Defensively it was a pretty solid job the entire weekend.”

The Norse shot about 30 percent from the field and even lower from the 3-point line. They had a hard time hitting free throws also. But for their first season games as Division I, the Norse didn’t compete too badly against the other teams. The cumulative scores were 61-65 San Diego, 56-76 Tulsa, 52-56 Siena, and 58-69 Cal State Northridge.

“Most games we played well for 25 or 30 minutes, then for about eight minutes we would do bad and that’s what loses basketball games against bigger teams like that,” Ethan Faulkner, senior point guard and physical education major, said. “We go out there and shoot that low from the field, not good free throw shooting, four to eight minutes of not very good basketball and we had a chance to win three out of four games. We have to be more consistent as a team.”

Although the team may have struggled offensively and held up defensively, they have not run into a problem with working together. Teamwork is their strong suit, according to Bezold.
“If we have anything, we have teamwork,” said Bezold. “We work very well together on both ends of the floor. Our kids work at the other issues, so we will keep getting better.”
The team has drive, ambition and camaraderie and hopes that will lead it to become bigger and better as a unit. The biggest struggle NKU has against the Division I teams is that it is currently playing in its youth, with nine freshmen out of the 15 players on the team.

Any freshman coming out of high school to play Division I basketball is going to experience a big culture shock.
“I think the first thing we’re going to have to do is make more shots,” Faulkner said. “We’re not a very big team, not very athletic, we’re going to have to work on outside shots to be able to compete. The difference between us and other teams is they have more seniors and we have five to six freshman playing in every game.”

The team holds the skills needed to shape a Division I team and is hoping to utilize them to the best of their ability, leading to more success in the future.