The NKU men’s basketball team opened the regular season by defeating Wilmington College 102-38 on Tuesday evening. With the victory, the Norse start their season 1-0 and won for the 800th time in program history.
“I think a lot of good came out of tonight,” redshirt sophomore Jalen Tate said. “ Being able to cap off the 800th win for all the alumni and fans that were here tonight, it’s a great feeling honestly.”
Tate led the Norse with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Drew McDonald finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
“It was good to come out and get our feet wet for a real game to start the regular season,” head coach John Brannen said. “For all the Non-Division I teams that we play, I’ve always thought that Wilmington plays as hard as any team. We really appreciate them for coming to play.”
Newcomers Silas Adheke added 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Adrian Nelson, Bryant Macoby and Zaynah Robinson combined for 27 points.
“We got a lot of minutes for a lot of guys which is really important to me right now,” Brannen said. “We have a lot of guys in new roles, and even a lot of guys who have never stepped foot on a college court before.”
With all the new players on this year’s team, Tyler Sharpe knows his role as a leader on this team.
“I knew I would have to step up with Jalen as a leader on this team to help the new guys learn the system,” Sharpe said. “I think I have taken on the role as a vocal leader as well as leading by example.
Tate and McDonald started the first half on an 11-0 run and combined for all the points. Wilmington then cut the deficit to six points with 12:59 left in the half, but the Norse proceeded to go on a 19-0 run to extend the lead to 33-8. The Norse shot 17-32 from the field in the first half.
In the second half, the Norse went on another 10-0 run to extend the lead to 58-16. In the second half, the NKU defense held Wilmington to 8-27 shooting from the field. Allowing them to breeze to a 103-38 victory.
The Norse finished the game shooting 38-65 from the field, 5-16 from the three-point line, and only 21-39 from the free throw line. Along with the struggles from the free throw line, the Norse committed 18 turnovers during the game.
“It’s something we definitely need to fix,” Brannen said.
The Norse will travel to Northern Illinois on Friday, Nov. 9 for their next game. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN+.