(Photo Courtesy of Jeff McCurry)
The 20 game win streak at BB&T Arena has come to an end for the NKU Norse.
Senior night started off with a great ceremony for senior Drew McDonald and graduate transfer Zaynah Robinson, but the rest of the game was a battle. Cleveland St. as a team shot 51% from the field and 38% from 3 to hold on for victory in tonight's Horizon League battle. Forward Jaalam Hill had a few big highlight plays to go along with his 26 point, 12 rebound performance this evening and also got some help from Guard Tyree Appleby scoring 15 points and adding 8 assists to lead the Vikings to just their 9th win of the season. The Vikings were 0-12 on the road going into tonight's game so they played their part breaking two streaks between Northern Kentucky's long home win streak and Cleveland State's rough road losing streak.
On the other hand, the Norse were not themselves tonight. Head Coach John Brannen mentioned he feels that his team lost their edge in the month of February. "19-2 in February the last two years." Brannen mentioned in his post game presser. "This year it's quite different. We need to find our edge and understand what makes us good. Everybody is hurt this time of year, so we just gotta deal with that and persevere." The Norse were 6-24 from 3 as a team tonight, had 15 turnovers and shot 43% from the floor. Jalen Tate, the Norse star Guard fouled out in the game and his coach was very honest about this trend. "Jalen can't stay out of foul trouble. He played like 5 minutes in the second half at Wright St. so an all conference guard can't stay out of foul trouble. Him being in foul trouble handicaps us in a lot of games."
Drew McDonald didn't look to be himself for most of the game, something he himself made mention of in the post game press conference. John Brannen mentioned Drew has hyperactive back spasms, and he wasn't aware of that news until the half. Northern Kentucky is now 21-8 on the season and 11-5 in Horizon League play falling solely into second place giving Wright St. the overall lead in the conference.
Up next for the Norse, the Wisconsin Road Trip with games at Milwaukee on Thursday, February 28th and end the regular season at Green Bay Saturday March 2nd at 1PM.
Tim Daniel is the director of College Basketball Content here on the 48 Minutes Network. He is also the host of 48 Minutes and At Large Bid. If you'd like to speak with Tim about College or NBA Basketball give him a follow