Men’s basketball vanquishes Flames at BB&T Arena 73-58

McDonald first player in 46 years to hit 20 rebounds, posts second double-double this weekend

Ty Debonis, Reporter

The NKU men’s basketball team picked up their second win in 48 hours by defeating the UIC Flames 73-58 Sunday night. The win puts the Norse atop the Horizon League standings at 2-0.

Redshirt sophomore guard Jalen Tate led the black & gold with a career-high 25 points and 6 assists. Senior Drew McDonald followed with 19 points and 20 rebounds, his second double-double of the weekend and the first player in almost 50 years to post 20 or more rebounds for NKU. Junior Dantez Walton nearly achieved a double double himself with 15 points and eight rebounds.

The game got off to a slow start, and Tate was a big energy that got the momentum going.

“I came in with the mentality that I needed to bring energy,” Tate said. “It seemed like we got off to a slow start, I tried to come in [the game] in attack mode and do whatever the team needed me to do to get the win.”

McDonald added 19 points and also notched a career-high in rebounds with 20. He is the first player for the Norse to grab 20 boards in a game since Jim McMillan in 1972.

“I wasn’t hitting shots early, but my goal is to contribute any way that I can,” McDonald said. “When my shots aren’t falling I know I can go in there and get rebounds.”

NKU led 44-28 at halftime.

During the second half of the game, the Norse went on to shoot 44 percent from the field. The Norse ended the game on an 8-1 run and held UIC scoreless the final three minutes of the game. The Norse out-rebounded the Flames 46-27, and finished the game 73-58.

After winning four straight games, the Norse improve to 12-3 overall.

Previously, the Flames narrowly beat NKU’s Horizon League rival Wright State on Friday night. The Norse are also 2 for 2 in conference play after dominating the IUPUI Jaguars at BB&T on Friday.

The Norse travel to Oakland on Thursday, Jan. 3 to take on the Oakland Grizzlies who also stand at 2-0 in Horizon League conference play. Watch the game live on ESPN+ at 7 p.m.