Cleveland State freshman Ashanti Abshaw banked in a running shot as time expired Saturday night as the Vikings stunned Northern Kentucky 64-62, spoiling the Norse’s senior night.
Abshaw, who has won the Horizon League freshman of the week award five times this year, certainly locked up the award for this week by scoring a career-high 32 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.
The Vikings, winners of four of their last five games, led for only 16 seconds after trailing for 35 minutes, 12 seconds.
“It’s a really tough loss for us,” NKU Head Coach Dawn Plitzuweit said. “Cleveland State played really good basketball.”
Almost as stunning as Abshaw’s game-winning heroics was Northern Kentucky failing to score over the game’s final 6:32. They missed their last six shots and had four turnovers during the drought.
“Their zone frustrated us,” Plitzuweit said. “We actually got some pretty good looks when we missed some shots down the stretch. We missed two really point-blank shots around the rim. Then we missed some perimeter shots we tried to force.”
NKU had several droughts in the game, but when Kasey Uetrecht scored with 6:32 remaining, the Norse led 62-56.
Nicolette Newman cut the deficit to four, 62-58, with 2:51 remaining. Elsmere native Olivia Voskuhl scored with 2:19 remaining to pull the Vikings within two.
After another Norse miss, Brooke Smith tied the game at 62 with a layup with 1:41 remaining.
Following Smith’s basket, NKU did not get a shot attempt in the game’s final 1:41. Smith had a steal, which set up the final play.
The ball was worked to Abshaw on the outside. She drove left, was double teamed found nothing. She drove back right and threw up a shot from 18 feet away just before the buzzer sounded. It went it, and Cleveland State had the stunning victory.
“She kind of got away from us in transition,” Plitzuweit said. “We couldn’t catch her. In the zone we were in, we were trying to keep her away from the rim. She’s a kid that, even though she’s small, she’s really good at posting up.”
“The last shot wasn’t a great shot, but it went in.”
Voskuhl added 15 points and 7 rebounds for Cleveland State.
Christine Roush led NKU with 26 points. She passed Melody Doss for the most points scored in a single season in the Division I era. Roush has 486 points. Doss finished the 2013-2014 season with 468.
Kasey Uetrecht added 17 points for the Norse.
On senior night, the Norse honored Rianna Gayheart, Christine Roush and Courtney Roush prior to their final regular-season home game.
“They are kids that have embraced change very well,” Plitzuweit said. “They were recruited to play Division II basketball. There was a coaching change, then they find out they’re in the Atlantic Sun. Then, their senior year, they find out they’re in the Horizon League.
“They’re a group of kids that have battled and have clawed. I think they give you their best effort. They’re great kids. They’re great students. They’re exactly what you want your program to be about.”
Sunday’s game between Youngstown State and Wright State will determine NKU’s seed in the Horizon League tournament. A Youngstown State win will give NKU the 6-seed and a matchup with Oakland. A Wright State win gives the Norse the 5-seed and a rematch with the Vikings.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
@ BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Cleveland State 64, Northern Kentucky 62
C — 11 – 15 – 22 – 16 — 64N — 21 – 14 – 15 – 12 — 62
(64) CLEVELAND STATE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Abshaw 12-2-6-32, Livingston 0-0-2-2, Smith 1-0-0-2, Voskuhl 6-3-0-15, Newman 2-1-0-5, Aideyman 1-1-0-3, Mitchell 2-1-0-5. TOTALS 24-8-8-64.
(62) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lyttle 1-0-3-5, Gayheart 1-1-0-3, Ch. Roush 9-5-3-26, Co. Roush 2-0-2-6, Uetrecht 6-4-1-17, Glick 1-0-0-2, Franson 1-0-1-3. TOTALS 21-10-10-62.
FIELD GOALS: C 24/62 (Abshaw 12/23, Voskuhl 6/13); N 21/57 (Ch. Roush 9/19, Uetrecht 6/16)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: C 8/23 (Voskuhl 3/8, Abshaw 2/7); N 10/30 (Ch. Roush 5/13, Uetrecht 4/8)
FREE THROWS: C 8/10 (Abshaw 6/6); N 10/13 (Lyttle 3/4, Ch. Roush 3/3)
REBOUNDS: C 46 (Abshaw 14, Voskuhl 7, Livingston 6); N 28 (Lyttle 5, Ch. Roush 5, Uetrecht 4, Co. Roush 4)
ASSISTS: C 10 (Livingston 5); N 10 (Gayheart 4, Co. Roush 3)
STEALS: C 10 (Abshaw 3); N 9 (Gayheart 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: C 2; N 3
TURNOVERS: C 20; N 14