The Northern Kentucky men’s basketball team stays alive and advances to the Horizon League championship game for the third time in the last four seasons after a resounding 80-69 triumph over Green Bay on Monday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
TURNING POINTJalen Tate willed NKU into the lead for the final time at 50-49 with eight-straight points for the Norse between the 11:27 and 9:52 marks of the second half.STATS LEADERS
- Tate dominated with a 23-point night, going 6-of-10 (60 percent) from the floor. He also racked up 10 free throws in 15 attempts, while adding six rebounds, three assists and pair of steals
- Dantez Walton put together a double-double performance in the win with 19 points and 11 boards. He also had a pair of blocks to top things off.
- Tyler Sharpe had an efficient night en route to a 20-point game, going 8-of-16 (50 percent) to go along with four rebounds and a couple assists.
FIRST HALF SUMMARY
- Green Bay had the better start, leading 7-4 entering the first media timeout. NKU had a pair of buckets in the first-four minutes from Walton and Langdon.
- Langdon swished a three-ball and Sharpe made a jump shot to keep it close to keep at a five-point game at the 13:04 mark. Walton followed with a forced turnover and brought it down to the other coast for a layup and made it a two-point, 16-14, game.
- Green Bay went on a 7-0 mini-run beginning at the 8:55 mark, but NKU fought back with back-to-back shots to keep it a two-point game. Tate brought in a left-elbow jumper while Sharpe used a turnover to grab a fast-break layup with 6:36 to go.
- A Trevon Faulkner turnaround jumper continued the Norse momentum before both the sophomore and Tate sank layups to make it a 10-2 NKU run.
- The only Norse basket to end the half was a layup by Walton with 53 seconds to go. Green Bay fought back to take a small 30-29 advantage at the half.
- Green Bay was held to just 9-of-28 (32 percent) shooting after 20 minutes and an even more impressive 1-for-10 (10 percent) from beyond the arc.
SECOND HALF SUMMARY
- Sharpe kicked off the second with a driving layup after a slow couple of minutes for both sides offensively. Adrian Nelson went to the line the next time down and kept the deficit the same at 35-33 in favor of Green Bay.
- The duo of Sharpe and Nelson struck again to keep NKU in the game. Sharpe had his first three of the night and Nelson willed in a second-chance layup to make it 43-40 with 13:47 to go.
- An 8-2 Tate run followed for NKU beginning with a driving layup from the far side. The junior then went to the line twice for four free-throws before capping things off with an and-one basket, giving NKU a 50-49 lead with 9:52 to go.
- The slew of free-throw attempts continued for NKU as Faulkner and Sharpe went perfect for another four points. With 8:14 left, Walton brought in a big and-one basket and converted for a 57-51 lead.
- The three-ball started falling for NKU once it had the lead as Walton added a pair and one went down for Sharpe to make it a 70-62 advantage with 2:59 to go.
- With Green Bay trying its all to catch up, the Norse went to the line time and again, making eight free throws in the final minutes.
- Sharpe capped off the incredible second half by the Norse with a driving layup with seven second left to send NKU to yet another title game.
- Northern Kentucky poured in 51-second half points thanks to 48 percent (13-of-27) shooting from the floor and 88 percent (21-of-24) at the stripe.
- The Norse have reached their third Horizon League title game in four years.
- Tate’s recent surge continued in this matchup as it’s his fourth 20-point game in the last seven and his second-straight. He’s averaging 20.6 points per game, 56 percent shooting and 5.9 rebounds in the stretch.
- Walton is now just two points shy from reaching 1,000 career points.
- Walton’s big night is also the fifth double-double of the year by the senior. He’s also on a four-game streak of 15 points or more.
- NKU remains undefeated at 17-0 when they win or tie in the rebounding battle.
UP NEXT NKU plays for the Horizon League title on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.
–Robby JohnsonAthletic Communications Graduate Assistant (WSOC/MSOC/BASE)Communications and Media Services