NKU MBB struggles in loss to Youngstown State; NKU WBB sweeps Purdue Fort Wayne

Poor shooting and defensive struggles were driving factors in loss

December 21, 2020

The Northern Kentucky Norse men’s basketball team struggled to stop Youngstown State forward Naz Bohannon on Sunday afternoon, as the Penguins went on to defeat the Norse 70-60 in the second game of the weekend between the two conference foes.

Bohannon scored 19 points for YSU, shooting 50 percent from the field, while also grabbing seven rebounds. Fellow forward Michael Akuchie was excellent as well for YSU, scoring 14 points while pacing the team in rebounds with 12.

“I think the biggest thing is we let him catch the ball too close to the basket,” Horn said regarding Bohannon. “I thought he had his way with whoever was guarding him one-on-one. Just not good individual defense from the guys that were matched to him today.”

For the Norse, junior guard Trevon Faulkner led the team with 20 points on 8-18 shooting from the field, while also grabbing seven rebounds. Faulkner was the lone Norse player to score in double-figures. Junior forward Adrian Nelson came just one point shy of a double-double, posting nine points and 12 boards.

“He was the one guy, if you look down the stretch, that was rebounding the basketball aggressively, and really attacking the basket aggressively,” Head Coach Darrin Horn said about Faulkner.

Despite the strong offensive play from Faulkner however, the Norse shot just 6-22 from beyond the three-point arc, a significant turning point in a ten-point loss.

“The first half we were kind of timid it seemed like, we didn’t get too many drives, and it led to the loss,” Faulkner said.

With both teams struggling to find consistent looks at the basket in the first half, the game remained closely contested through the first 20 minutes. Youngstown State jumped ahead 14-7 early on, but following a timeout, the Norse demonstrated better ball control, limiting turnovers and clamping down on the defensive end. NKU held the Penguins to just 31 percent from the field, and despite shooting just 34.5 percent themselves in the first half, were able to cling to a 27-25 advantage at halftime.

Things did not go nearly as well for the Norse in the second half.

On the back of Bohannon, who scored 10 of his 19 points in the second half, the Penguins endured an offensive resurgence, shooting 53.8 percent from the field in the half, while cashing in on five of their nine three-point attempts. YSU also converted on 12 of their 15 second half free-throw attempts.

“I think we let some offensive droughts affect how we competed on the defensive end, against a team that was playing to make up for how they felt the game went yesterday,” Horn said.

One of the main issues that arose in the second half for the Norse was foul trouble. Nelson picked up his fourth foul with 6:23 remaining in the game, while senior wing Adham Eleeda also played with four fouls for much of the half. According to Horn, NKU did not display the physicality needed to be able to compete with a veteran team like Youngstown State.

“We have got a young team, we are not a big team, and we have got to play with an extreme amount of mental toughness, if not physical toughness,” Horn said.

With the loss, NKU falls to 3-4 overall, and 1-1 in Horizon League action. The Norse will return to action next Saturday and Sunday in Rochester, Michigan, as the team battles the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Saturday’s game will tip off at 7 p.m., while the finale on Sunday will begin at 3 p.m.

NKU WBB ends weekend with two-game sweep of Purdue Fort Wayne

The Northern Kentucky Norse women’s basketball team defeated the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons 80-63 on Sunday afternoon, completing the weekend sweep. The Norse easily handled the Mastodons on Saturday afternoon as well, winning 83-48.

On Saturday, the Norse were led by redshirt junior guard Lindsey Duvall, who poured in 18 points, while grabbing six rebounds. Sophomore guard Carissa Garcia scored 16 points, while senior forward Kailey Coffey had 14 points with 10 rebounds. The Norse shot over 40 percent from three-point range, and forced Purdue Fort Wayne into 20 turnovers.

Duvall turned in another excellent performance on Sunday afternoon, finishing second on the team with 20 points. The story of Sunday’s game however was senior forward Grayson Rose, who in just 20 minutes of action scored 23 points and led the team with eight rebounds.

With the two victories this weekend, NKU improves to 4-0 in Horizon League play. The Norse do not have any scheduled games next week, but will resume conference play on Jan. 1 at BB&T Arena against the Cleveland State Vikings. The contest is slated to tip off at 12:00 p.m.

 

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