NKU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams defeated Atlantic Sun’s Kennesaw State University, Jan. 26 at The Bank of Kentucky Center. The women’s game had a final score of 65-49 and the men’s final score was 64-53.
The women’s team took control early, keeping KSU at 11 points at halftime, while scoring 37 of its own. This was the first time the Owls and Norse have ever played each other.
Senior guard Kayla Thacker led the team with 16 points. Senior forward Tiara Hopper finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Freshman guard Christine Roush had 11 points, four rebounds and two assists. Senior center Ellen Holton added nine points, four rebounds, two blocks and one steal.
“I thought our kids, in the first half, really focused on trying to take away the paint; trying to keep them away from the rim as much as possible,” Head coach Dawn Plitzuweit said.
The crowd and the student section were full with students and fans coming to celebrate this week’s homecoming festivities, as well as enjoying quality basketball. The final attendance for the women’s game 2,791.
“It’s always good to have good fan support,” Thacker said. “This is probably the most we’ve played in front [of] all year, so it was really enjoyable.”
The Norse is now 4-0 at home against A-Sun opponents and 0-4 against conference opponents on the road. The Owls now have a 0-8 record in the A-Sun conference and 4-16 overall.
The next game will be at home against Mercer University at 7 p.m.
The men’s team started out a little rockier with back and forth runs from both teams. The lead changed only twice. After that, the Norse held the lead for the rest of the game.
“The game is made of runs,” said senior forward Ernest “Stretch” Watson. “We’re going to have our ups and downs. The crowd energized us. We played with each other’s strengths.”
Senior guard, Eshaunte Jones was one point away from tying his career high, scoring 25 points. Jones had 26 points last game against Mercer. He was four of 11 from behind the arc, had four rebounds, three assists and five turnovers.Freshman guard Tyler White added 13 points. Junior guard Chad Jackson had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Watson finished with 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
This is the second meeting between NKU and Kennesaw State. The last time they played was in 2003 and the Norse came out with the victory. KSU now has a 2-19 record overall and are 1-8 in the conference.
At one point in the game, Northern Kentucky had four freshmen out on the court at the same time.
“If they [the upperclassmen] don’t treat the freshman right, or look after them, these kids won’t make it,” Head coach Dave Bezold said. “I don’t know what they are saying to them in the locker room but it has to be the right things or they wouldn’t be coming along or have the positive attitudes they do.”The final attendance for the men’s game was 4,716. Their next game will be at East Tennessee State University on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.