The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Norse take first place in the Horizon League with victory over UIC

February 23, 2018

Carson Williams (23) goes up for a shot during the game against Youngstown State.

Carson Williams (23) goes up for a shot during the game against Youngstown State.

Colin Johnson

Colin Johnson

Carson Williams (23) goes up for a shot during the game against Youngstown State.

The NKU men’s basketball team defeated UIC 79-72 Friday night in Chicago.

The Norse now hold first place in the Horizon League with a 14-3 conference record while UIC sits in third place with a 12-5 conference record. Wright State lost to IUPUI earlier in the day and they sit in second place in the Horizon League with a 13-4 conference record.

Lavone Holland II was on his game Friday night, scoring 25 points to lead all scorers and grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists. Carson Williams scored 14 points off the bench and chased down six rebounds. Nine different Norse scored in the game.

Tai Odiase scored 14 points and blocked three shots for UIC while Dikembe Dixson finished with 12 points.

UIC shot 40 percent on the night and 28 percent from three while the Norse shot just over 45 percent for the game and 42 percent from three. 13 second chance points were the difference for the Norse.

The Norse opened up a 41-26 halftime lead after shooting 42.1 percent in the first half and 45 percent from three. Holland scored 12 first half points and Williams scored nine points. The Flames shot just 32 percent in the half and 33.3 percent from three.

Dixson scored nine points in the first half.

UIC started the second half on a 14-2 run, cutting the Norse lead to 43-40 with 16 minutes remaining in the game. NKU would keep the lead between three and six most of the second half until the six minute mark, when UIC tied the game at 61.

However, back-to-back threes by McDonald and Garnett put the Norse up six with 4:25 remaining. The Norse sustained one more run from the Flames, but an and-one basket by Drew McDonald with 1:32 remaining would give the Norse the momentum.

The Norse will look to wrap up the Horizon League regular season title on Sunday when they face IUPUI in Indianapolis. The Jaguars defeated Wright State earlier in the day on Friday and have won four of their last five games.

A win secures the first seed in the Horizon League tournament for NKU. If NKU loses, they would need UIC to beat Wright State to remain in first place.

Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be available on ESPN3 and on ESPN1530 on AM radio.

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