It wasn’t pretty at times, but Northern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team remained undefeated on the road Thursday night, defeating Youngstown State 95-85.
The Norse are now 9-2 in Horizon League play and 16-7 overall. After starting league play 3-1, Youngstown State is now just 4-7 in conference play and 6-18 overall. Wright State lost to Cleveland State on Thursday, which means NKU is now tied for first place in the league standings.
Drew McDonald led the way for NKU in this game, shooting 9-11 from the field and 2-3 from three for 26 points while also grabbing 16 rebounds. McDonald played all but one minute of the game. Carson Williams followed with 19 points on 9-12 shooting while Tyler Sharpe scored 15 points off the bench.
Five Norse ended the night with 10 or more points.
Braun Hartfield scored 23 points for the Penguins while Tyree Robinson scored 19 points off the bench. Cameron Morse added 13 points and dished out four assists.
NKU shot over 59 percent in the contest while the Penguins shot just 43 percent. The Norse also shot over 52 percent from downtown while Youngstown State shot over 47 percent. While they outrebounded the Penguins 32-31, NKU grabbed just four offensive boards while Youngstown grabbed 12.
Both offenses started the game slow, with the score being 9-6 in favor of Youngstown State after 15 minutes of play. The Penguins would build some momentum, however, jumping out to a 16-8 lead after a Robinson layup. The Penguin lead would not balloon to more than eight points though and the Norse were able to cut the lead to 43-40 at halftime.
McDonald scored 16 points in the first half. Every other Norse starter was held to six points or less in the half. starters Lavone Holland II and Jordan Garnett did not score.
NKU would shoot 64 percent in the second half and would lead by as many as 14 in the half. It wasn’t without difficulty however, as Jalen Tate exited the game with what looked like a cramp, but would not return to the game. Minutes later, Mason Faulkner took a hard fall after being up-ended trying to block a Penguin three.
He returned to game later on. After Faulkner exited however, Youngstown State was able to cut the lead to six points, but that would be as close as the Penguins would come to the lead in the final minutes.
The Norse will take the floor Saturday when they face Cleveland State in Cleveland. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be available on ESPN3.