In front of a packed house (that included University of Kentucky Head Coach, John Calipari ) the NKU Norse defeated Detroit Mercy 84-65 on the night of their homecoming. Jalen Tate lead the way with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Trevon Faulkner chipped in 16 points and Tyler Sharpe had 17. Dwayne Rose Jr. lead Detroit with 21 points and 5 rebounds.
This was a slow slug fest from start to finish. 54 free throws were shot during this contest which lead to long lulls in crowd energy. By the end of the first half NKU had held Detroit standout, Antoine Davis to just 6 points and lead 41-35. Jalen Tate was on fire and was 6-7 from the field. The second half included a nice run by the Norse that eventually got them to a 20 point lead. Despite missing 9 free throws, NKU was able to capitalize on loose balls and turnovers and continue to build a lead point by point.
The quieting of the crowd was brought to a loud eruption when toward the end of the game a fan (finally) sank a 94 foot putt and won $5K from a long running contest held by local restaurant Barleycorns. By the time the final buzzer sounded, NKU won by 19 and sank Detroit to 6-19 and had held Davis to just 10 points. John Calipari's son Brad Calapari was held to 8 points in 34 minutes.
When asked what the difference between the Detroit game in the beginning of the season and this contest, Jalen Tate said that the energy and the defensive rebounding was the difference maker. When asked about the homecoming crowd, Tyler Sharpe said it's frustrating because the crowd was great, but hopes the fans enjoy the game and come back to more games to show support.
Coach Horne said that Jalen Tate and Faulkner just competed and impacted the team with their aggressiveness and helped seal the win. When asked if Horne knew if Coach Calipari was in attendance and said he had spoke with him after the game and gave him praise for being a coaches coach and supporting other coaches.
NKU plays again next Friday, Feb 14th against IUPUI (6-17) at 7:00 p.m. at BB&T.