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Career high for McDonald as Norse pound Blue Hens

NKU%27s+Drew+McDonald+%2834%29+had+a+career-high+32+points+Wednesday+in+a+win+over+Morehead+State.
NKU's Drew McDonald (34) had a career-high 32 points Wednesday in a win over Morehead State.

NKU's Drew McDonald (34) had a career-high 32 points Wednesday in a win over Morehead State.

Matt Sexton

Matt Sexton

NKU's Drew McDonald (34) had a career-high 32 points Wednesday in a win over Morehead State.

Austin Elmore, Reporter

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OXFORD, Ohio — Coming off a 77-69 loss to Austin Peay on Friday night, the NKU men’s basketball team rebounded Saturday by defeating Delaware 74-53 in their second game of the Tarkett Sports Classic at Miami University in Oxford.

NKU finished the game shooting 40 percent and played well on the glass, outrebounding Delaware 48-37, while also forcing 16 turnovers on the defensive end of the floor.

The Norse were led by sophomore Drew McDonald who set a new career high for points with 28 points on 8-15 shooting. He also had 10 points from the free throw line. McDonald added 13 rebounds and 2 assists.

“I started feeling it early. I missed a couple easy shots but I just stuck with it,” McDonald said. “My teammates kept giving me confidence and kept telling me to shoot. I was just doing whatever I could to get a team win for us.”

Freshman forward Carson Williams complemented McDonald down low, scoring 12 points and adding 8 rebounds.

The first half was low scoring and sloppy as both teams struggled to reach 20 points and combined for 16 turnovers. Delaware led the Norse 21-20 at the break.

NKU shot 25 percent in the first half, including going 1-10 from the 3-point line and shooting 37 percent from the free throw line.

Despite the slow start on the offensive side of the ball, head coach John Brannen was pleased with the way his team played on the defensive end.

“We played well in the first half,” Brannen said. “We were awesome defensively, executed the game plan and we were getting great shots. We were just missing shots.”

NKU dominated Delaware on the glass in the first half, outrebounding the Blue Hens 27-18. Redshirt sophomore Jeff Garrett and sophomore Drew McDonald had 9 and 7 rebounds, respectively.

The Norse came out strong in the second half, opening the second period on a 14-1 run with baskets by McDonald, Williams and Lavon Holland II. Delaware adjusted by pressuring the Norse and playing a zone defense.

NKU moved the ball around and found themselves getting open looks from the 3-point line and converting them, making seven 3s in the second half. Four different Norse made 3s in the period, including 3 from sharpshooter Cole Murray.

The Norse did what they could not do on Friday and pulled away from the Blue Hens in the second half, giving them a 21-point victory on Saturday.

“I was anxious to find out how we would respond to losing a 16-point lead (Friday night), but that speaks to the character of this team,” Brannen said. “We got into a rhythm on offense, but our defense didn’t stop.”

NKU wraps up the Tarkett Sports Classic 2 p.m. Sunday against host school Miami. Fans can watch the game on ESPN3 and can listen on the radio on The Project 100.7 and 106.3 FM.

Summary

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016

at Millett Hall, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Northern Kentucky 74, Delaware 53

N — 20 – 54 — 74
D — 21 – 32 — 53

(74) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Garrett 1-0-1-3, Tate 1-0-0-2, Williams 5-0-2-12, McDonald 8-2-10-28, Holland II 5-2-0-12, Garnett 1-0-2-4, Spellman 1-1-0-3, Gillis 0-0-1-1, Murray 3-3-0-9. TOTALS 25-8-16-74.

(53) DELAWARE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Corbett 1-1-0-3, Carter 2-0-1-5, Mosley 3-0-5-11, Pinkard 1-0-0-2, Hayes 4-1-4-13, Daly 4-1-4-13, Harris 0-0-2-2, Bryant 1-0-2-4. TOTALS 16-3-18-53.

FIELD GOALS: N 25/62 (McDonald 8/15, Holland 5/13, Williams 5/6); D 16/53 (Hayes 4/15, Daly 4/11)

3-POINT FIELD GOALS: N 8/27 (Murray 3/6, McDonald 2/4, Holland 2/6); D 3/16

FREE THROWS: N 16/25 (McDonald 10/12); D 18/25 (Mosley 5/8, Hayes 4/4, Daly 4/6)

REBOUNDS: N 48 (McDonald 13, Garrett 11, Williams 8); D 37 (Hayes 8, Daly 7, Corbett 5)

ASSISTS: N 15 (Tate 4, Holland 4, Garrett 3); D 5

STEALS: N 4 (Holland 3); D 4 (Mosley 3)

BLOCKED SHOTS: N 3 (Garrett 2, Tate 1); D 7 (Hayes 3, Carter 2)

TURNOVERS: N 11; D 16

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Career high for McDonald as Norse pound Blue Hens