Saturday, February 28, 2015

Northern Kentucky Hammers USC Upstate to Earn Home Game in A-Sun Tournament

Northern Kentucky 84
USC Upstate 65

Final from Highland Heights, Kentucky

Game recap by NKU:

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky.- Junior guard Todd Johnson's career-high 24 points provided Northern Kentucky University (13-16, A-Sun 7-7) the boost it needed for a 84-65 win over USC Upstate (21-10, 8-6) to clinch a home game in the Atlantic Sun Championship.

Behind Johnson's career performance, Tyler White added 19 points and three assists. The guard duo of Johnson and White hit 11-of-19 from three-point territory, with Johnson hitting 8-of-10 on his own. Those eight threes were a career-best, eclipsing the previous eight times where he hit four trifectas in a game.

Trailing 10-4 early in the first frame, the Norse went on an 11-0 run to take the lead, 15-10, a lead they would not relinquish through the first half. However, the Spartans twice tied the game in the first 20 minutes. With the game knotted at 32-all and under 10 seconds left to play in the first, Johnson drained a buzzer-beating-trey to give the Norse the lead 35-32 heading into the break.

The Norse sharp shooting from three was the story of the night, especially in the first half. NKU shot 7-of-12, while Johnson hit 6-of-7 to lead the way. The Norse shared the ball well in the opening stanza, tallying seven assists on 14 made shots

The Norse pulled away after the seven-minute mark of the second half, going on a 17-5 run and capping it off with a highlight reel alley-oop from Taylor Persons to Jalen Billups to push the Norse ahead 72-61.

Billups and Persons each had key performances. Persons racked up 14 points with four assists, two of which were transported to Billups, who added 11 points on 5-6 shooting from the floor, and collected 10 rebounds. Billups double-double provided NKU with its fourth in the last five games, as Persons posted consecutive double-doubles and Chad Jackson added one in Northern Kentucky's last outing at Kennesaw State.

Before the Norse and Spartans tipped-off in the Atlantic Sun battle, two seniors were honored for their contributions at NKU. Chad Jackson finished with six points, six rebounds and two assists.

Complete Recap

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