NKU men’s basketball team had five Norse in double digits in their home opener against UC Clermont. Sophomore guard Bryson Langdon led the night in points with 20, making 5 of 6 behind the 3-point line. Senior guard Tyler Sharpe followed with 19 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore guard Trevon Faulkner and graduate guard Karl Harris had 14 points a piece. Redshirt junior forward Silas Adheke rounded out the five in double digits with 13 points and four rebounds.
The last time NKU saw UC Clermont was in the 2014-15 season with a 107-53 win. The Norse are 11-0 all-time against the Cougars.
Before the game started, the Norse held a ceremony featuring the 2019 Horizon League Regular Season Championship Banner, Horizon League Tournament Championship Banner and the 2019 NCAA Appearance Banner.
The Norse opened the game with a defensive steal and a layup by redshirt junior Jalen Tate. The Cougars answered back with a 3-pointer. The Norse tie two more times, at 8-8, then Adheke gave a two-hand dunk to bring it in. It was a slow start, but the Norse continued to stretch the lead.
“I just think it was the first game jitters. The lights were on—you hear the fans and stuff like that. It was just us getting going,” Langdon said.
In the latter part of the second half, Adheke stole the ball and passed ahead to Tate, who quickly found Sharpe open behind the arc, where he sank a three to bring the Norse to 35-19.
Sophomore forward Adrian Nelson had a big block and a steal with five minutes left in the half. Sharpe went on to hit another three, assisted by sophomore guard Bryant Mocaby. Walton then dumped the ball down inside to Harris, who laid it up for two right before the end of the half.
During the first half, the Norse shot 58.8 percent from the field. Senior forward Dantez Walton led the half in rebounds with seven, while the team had 24 total for the half. NKU held the Cougars to 40 percent field goal shooting and grabbed 13 boards.
“Regardless of the situation, we don’t want to be in a deal where we look at the second half scores the same,” Head Coach Darrin Horn said. “We want to try to increase the score; we want to challenge ourselves defensively. We didn’t drop off.”
Two minutes into the second half, Faulkner went coast to coast in transition for a layup,. followed by another transition basket from Tate, which brought the score to 59-35. With 9:43 left in the game, Walton stole the ball from the Cougars. Faulkner took the ball down the court to lay in the 80th point, which put the Norse up 80-43.
NKU continued to dominate, staying 25 points above the Cougars for the rest of the game, and ended with a final score of 105-55. For the game, the Norse shot 53 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from behind the arc. The Norse also won the rebounding battle 54-28.
“I’ll say attitude—if you want it, you go get it,” Langdon said. “Coach Horn really focuses on rebounding the ball. We are going to be playing way better teams, so we have to make sure we do that.”
All healthy players on the roster saw minutes on the court. Out of those players, all but one put points on the board.
“It’s a great feeling,” Sharpe said. “I’ve been in that spot before at the beginning of my career and to see your guys get that excited for you is a great feeling. And, for David [Wassler] to get a bucket, that’s the best feeling ever as a teammate, because he goes to war with us every day.”
The Norse will head to Columbia, MO on Friday, Nov. 8 to play the Missouri Tigers. Tip- off is set for 8 p.m. and can be watched on SEC Network.