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Critical free throws lift Cleveland State past NKU

Matt Sexton, Editor-in-Chief

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Shar'Rae Davis (0) looks inside during Thursday's game against Cleveland State.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Kentucky — Cleveland State’s offense came back to life just in time for the Vikings.

After a furious rally by the NKU women’s basketball team Thursday evening, Cleveland State made its final three field goals and six free throws to defeat the Norse 58-54.

“I’m really proud of our team’s effort,” NKU head coach Camryn Whitaker said. “It’s no surprise to me that we would come out and play with that type of effort after the two road losses opening up conference play.”

It was a struggle early for the Norse. NKU shot just 9 of 28 in the first half (32.1 percent). Meanwhile, Cleveland State shot 55.6 percent and raced to a 32-23 halftime lead.

“The first half, offensively, really hurt us,” Whitaker said. “We got some good shots, we got some good open looks, we just didn’t knock them down.”

NKU (4-11 overall, 0-3 in Horizon League) scored the first nine points out of the locker room to tie the game at 32. The Norse shot 43.8 percent in the third, and the game was tied at 39 going into the fourth.

“I thought that was a good defensive effort,” Whitaker said. “Our kids made good adjustments defensively. They were tough and they took charges.”

The fourth quarter would see Cleveland State edge ahead, only to have NKU pull even once again. The game was tied at 49 with 1:07 left after a Mikayla Terry basket.

Khayla Livingston would answer for the Vikings, pulling up and hitting a cold-blooded three with 44.9 left to give Cleveland State a lead they would not relinquish.

The Vikings protected the lead at the line, with Livingston and Nicolete Newman burying all six free throw attempts in the final 24 seconds to hold on for the win.

Livingston led Cleveland State with 19 points. Ashanti Abshaw added 15 points while Olivia Voskuhl had 14.

Mikayla Terry led the Norse with 14 points. Kasey Uetrecht added 12 points. Rebecca Little just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds.

NKU returns to action 7 p.m. Saturday against Youngstown State.

“We’ve just got to stay after it, got to stay positive,” Whitaker said. “Build off of this one, learn from it. We’ve got to bounce back quick for Saturday.”

SUMMARY

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017

at BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Kentucky

Cleveland State 58, Northern Kentucky 54

C — 17 – 15 – 7 – 19 — 58
N — 11 – 12 – 16 – 15 — 54

(58) CLEVELAND STATE (ft-3fg-ft-tp) Newman 1-1-2-5, Abshaw 5-1-4-15, Livingston 6-2-5-19, Ely 0-0-1-1, Eckles 1-0-2-4, Voskuhl 6-2-0-14. TOTALS 19-6-14-58.

(54) NORTHERN KENTUCKY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Davis 3-1-0-7, Lyttle 4-0-1-9, Taugher 1-0-0-2, Wiegman 2-2-2-8, Uetrecht 5-0-2-12, Terry 6-0-2-14, Combs 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 22-3-7-54.

FIELD GOALS: C 19/43 (Livingston 6/13, Voskuhl 6/9, Abshaw 5/11); N 22/55 (Terry 6/9, Uetrecht 5/16, Lyttle 4/8, Davis 3/10)

3 POINT FIELD GOALS: C 6/19 (Livingston 2/8, Voskuhl 2/4); N 3/14 (Wiegman 2/5)

FREE THROWS: C 14/19 (Livingston 5/5, Abshaw 4/6); N 7/10

REBOUNDS: C 24 (Bosley 5, Ely 4); N 36 (Lyttle 12, Uetrecht 6, Davis 5)

ASSISTS: C 13 (Livingston 5, Newman 5); N 12 (Davis 7)

STEALS: C 8 (Livingston 4, Abshaw 3); N 8 (Davis 3, Uetrecht 2)

BLOCKED SHOTS: C 5 (Bosley 3); N 4 (Lyttle 3)

TURNOVERS: C 16; N 17

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Critical free throws lift Cleveland State past NKU