Morehead State went on an 11-2 run over the final 5:07 Saturday night, turning a one-point deficit into a 64-56 victory over the NKU men’s basketball team.
NKU is now 1-2 overall while Morehead State is 2-1.
The game was back and forth until about five minutes left, when the Eagles began to soar past NKU.
“I think Morehead just out-executed us at the end of the game,” Deontae Cole said. “We turned the ball over a couple times and those are the things we control. We have to get better at those things and get better on closing out games.”
Senior Jalen Billups started off the game scoring 7 of the first 9 points for the Norse.
Intensity was the name of the game early in the first half. The Norse were able to get a few big shots including two 3-pointers by Cole. Early foul trouble for senior Tyler White sent him to the bench. The Norse took a 24-18 lead with 6:20 left in the first half.
“Sustainability was the story of the game and we just didn’t sustain our energy,” NKU head coach John Brannen said. “We sustain the energy to rebound the ball.”
The Eagles ran the floor hard knocking down three 3-point baskets in a row. They were also able to force 6 turnovers, scoring 11 points off those turnovers. Going into the half, the Norse were down 34-32.
Cole began the second half as he ended the first with a corner 3-point basket. White added a 3-pointer of his own. After a layup by sophomore Lavone Holland II, the game was tied at 40 with 16:50 left in the game. After picking up his third foul, Billups headed to the bench.
Junior Matt Rosenwinkel may not have had a lot of points, but he did have strong rebounds that he snagged while getting fouled.
Junior Cole Murray gave the Norse a spark with a corner 3-pointer but the Eagles continued to fight, bring the score back to 50 a piece with 7:50 left in the game.
Rosenwinkel added two free throws and Holland drove hard to the basket knocking down the layup and the free throw. The Norse were down 57-54 with three minutes left in the game.
Over the last three minutes of the game, the Norse were unable to match the energy that Morehead State was playing with.
Holland led a balanced NKU scoring attack with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Cole and Billups each had 9 points.
Corban Collins led Morehead State (2-1) with 22 points.
“What I told our men is it’s not about the results, I never made it about the results even in the games we won,” Brannen said. “I made it about the process of getting better in terms of the season.”
Next up for the Norse is an 8:45 p.m. tip Monday at the Cintas Center against Xavier. The game will be televised on FS1.
Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015
@ BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Ky.
Morehead State 64, Northern Kentucky 56
(64) MOREHEAD STATE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Elechi 3-0-3-9, Marrero 1-0-2-4, Dicent 3-1-2-9, Collins 7-4-4-22, Arrington 3-1-1-8, Moon 4-2-1-11, Beamon 0-0-1-1. TOTALS 21-8-14-64.
(56) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Cole 3-3-0-9, Billups 4-0-1-9, White 2-1-0-5, Holland II 5-1-0-11, Murray 1-1-0-3, Garnett 0-0-1-1, Gillis 1-0-1-3, Giesler 1-0-1-3, Rosenwinkel 1-0-2-4, Johnson 0-0-2-2, McDonald 1-0-0-2, Danos 1-0-2-4. TOTALS 20-6-10-56.
FIELD GOALS: M 21/60 (Collins 7/18, Moon 4/7, Elechi 3/8, Arrington 3/10); N 20/52 (Holland 5/12, Billups 4/5, Cole 3/7)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: M 8/18 (Collins 4/9, Moon 2/2); N 6/20 (Cole 3/7)
FREE THROWS: M 14/22 (Collins 4/6, Elechi 3/5); N 10/16 (Rosenwinkel 2/2, Johnson 2/2, Danos 2/2)
REBOUNDS: M 40 (Elechi 8, Marrero 7, Arrington 6); N 40 (Giesler 9, Holland 7, Gillis 5)
ASSISTS: M 10; N 11 (Holland 6)
STEALS: M 6; N 2
BLOCKED SHOTS: M 4 (Arrington 2); N 7 (Billups 4, Gillis 2)
TURNOVERS: M 6; N 14