(Ryan Luster/48 Minutes Network)
By Sean Mackey
The visiting Green Bay Phoenix entered Highland Heights Thursday night 2-19, riding an 11 game losing streak and the firing of their head coach, Will Ryan on Tuesday afternoon. With Freddie Owens taking over the reins for the Phoenix, they looked to get back on track….however, the NKU Norse had other plans. Hot off a 20 point win over Fort Wayne last Saturday, the Norse looked to continue their recent upward trajectory and they delivered with a 68-50 victory at home.
The first half turned out to be a fairly ho-hum, run of the mill half for the Norse. Early 3 pointers by Sam Vinson and Trey Robinson helped the Norse off to a quick 11-0 run.. At one point, NKU built their lead up to 13 points. Marques Warrick led the team with 9 points going 4-7 from the field. Jack Rose of Green Bay also had 9 points off the bench. NKU shot 41% from both the field and 3 point shooting in the first half.
The Norse turned up the defense in the second half racking up 11 steals. GB had 19 turnovers which ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Chris Brandon hit the glass hard and pulled down 13 rebounds and 6 assists. Towards the end of the game NKU ran the lead all the way up to 21 points. Marques Warrick led all scorers with 18 points. Sam Vinson was once again all over the stat board with 17 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Green Bay were lead by Cade Meyer who chipped in 16 points and 8 rebounds.
After the win, Marques Warrick said “NKU is still at the top of the league but we’re not satisfied”. When asked about the upcoming rematch with Horizon League rival Milwaukee on Saturday, birthday boy Xavier Rhodes (11 points and 5 steals) said “ We owe them one. It’s gonna be a battle for 40 minutes.”
The Norse look to avenge their 5-point loss to Milwaukee from earlier this month when they take on the Panthers Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Truist Arena. The game can be viewed on ESPN+.