Sunday, March 3, 2013

Northern Kentucky Stuns Jacksonville With Amazing Comeback

Northern Kentucky 66
Jacksonville 62

Final from Highland Heights, Kentucky

Game recap by NKU:

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – If you were one of those fans who decided to leave a bit early Saturday night, when Jacksonville owned a 58-45 lead over Northern Kentucky with less than three minutes left in the game, Norse head coach Dave Bezold isn't upset with you. Not really.

In fact, he was just about ready to call it a night, too. Instead, Bezold applied full-court pressure against the visiting Dolphins, and the result was one of the most incredible come-from-behind victories in Northern Kentucky history.

Northern Kentucky rallied from that 13-point deficit in the final 2:36 of the game to post a 66-62 win over Jacksonville in front of a record-crowd of 6,719 in The Bank of Kentucky Center. It was the biggest crowd to ever watch a regular-season college basketball game in the facility, which opened in 2008.

But what was Bezold thinking with three minutes remaining?

“A: I'm very upset that people are walking out of our gym already. B: I don't want it to get to 20 (point defeat) for our seniors, so when do we stop fouling? And then, C: Who is coming out of the game first so they can get their recognition?” Bezold said. “But every timeout, we just kept believing and thought let's just get one good thing to happen. You just never know, and then all of a sudden it did. For everything to just seem to go the wrong way for 37 minutes, it's unbelievable.”

Down by 13 points with 2:36 left on the clock, Northern Kentucky applied full-court pressure and forced six turnovers to ignite a game-ending 21-4 run. Freshman guard Todd Johnson began the Norse rally with a 3-pointer while being fouled. He converted the free throw with 2:09 remaining to make it a 58-49 game.

A steal by Johnson on the Jacksonville inbounds pass led to a layup by Tyler White, cutting the Jacksonville lead to 58-51. Another Jacksonville turnover and a dunk by Ernest Watson brought the Norse to within five points (58-53), and when Johnson made a pair of free throws with 1:03 on the clock, Northern Kentucky had sliced the deficit to 58-55, and it was a one-possession game.

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