Monday, February 2, 2015

Northern Kentucky Comes Up Short at Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Gulf Coast 74
Northern Kentucky 64

Final from Fort Myers, Florida

Game recap by NKU:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Tayler Persons posted 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Northern Kentucky, which suffered a 74-64 setback at Florida Gulf Coast in Atlantic Sun men's basketball action on Saturday night.

"Our guys competed tremendously tonight," said head coach Dave Bezold. "FGCU is a really talented team and Alico Arena is a tough place to play. We'll take this next week to rest and work on a few details, as we have a big weekend coming up with Lipscomb, Homecoming and the Hall of Fame inductions."

Northern Kentucky (9-13, 3-4 A-Sun) staked an early 7-6 lead in the first half when Persons connected on a short jumper. The lead was short-lived as Florida Gulf Coast (16-7, 6-1 A-Sun) went on an 11-0 run.

The Norse kept the margin in the 8-12 point range for most of the half and looked to go into intermission down only 10 after Jalen Billups tipped in Person's missed three with just six second on the clock. But, preseason player of the year Bernard Thompson took the ball just beyond half court and knocked down a triple as the horn sounded to push the Norse behind, 44-31, headed into the locker rooms.

Persons and Billups posted 10 points apiece in the frame as NKU shot 52 percent (12-for-23). FGCU connected on 48 percent (15-of-31) of its attempts but made nine treys in the frame on 56 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Eight offensive boards also led to a 13-6 Eagles' advantage in second chance points in the opening stanza. Billups helped NKU control the paint, where the Norse held a 16-12 margin.

The Norse fell behind by 15 early in the second half but scored eight-unanswered points to cut the deficit to 49-42 with just over 16 minutes on the clock.

An old-fashioned three-point play from FGCU's Brett Comer with 11-minutes remaining pushed the Norse back down by 13. However, NKU refused to go away.

A 5-0 spurt was later followed by another 5-0 run that was capped off with an thundering alley-oop dunk by Billups. Suddenly, the FGCU lead was a mere five points, 62-57, with four-minutes to play.

NKU came through with a defensive stop and took the ball with a chance to further whittle its deficit, but a turnover on the offensive end proved costly. Comer went the distance for a lay-in to add to FGCU's lead.

Complete Recap

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