(Noah Francis/48 Minutes Network)
by Sean Mackey
The NKU Norse won a tight one against the EKU Colonels on Wednesday night at Truist Arena, 64-61. Both teams entered the game 5-5. EKU was coming off a 61 point victory over Boyce College on Saturday. The Norse were still recovering from a 21 point loss to Washington State last week.
The Colonels started the game hot and led for the first 9 minutes of play behind 3 early steals and an overall stifling defense. However, that lead was short lived and the Norse went on a run behind Xavier Rhodes’ 12 first half points going 5-5 from the field. NKU lead 30-26 at the end of the half, holding EKU to just 30% shooting from the field.
The second half was a hard fought, tight contest. A few minutes into it, EKU center Dardan Kapiti was assessed a technical after a hard, wrap up foul on NKU center Chris Brandon and was swiftly ejected from the contest. Towards the 3 minute mark, EKU and NKU traded threes back and forth. No one giving an inch. However, with the game tied, Marques Warrick was fouled on the way to the basket. Warrick went 1-2 giving NKU their final lead. Isiah Cozart went for a floater but was briskly ejected by Brandon. Two free throws from Vinson sealed the game however, EKU had one last shot. With 2.7 seconds left, EKU guard Turner Buttry missed the game tying 3 pointer.
NKU’s Xavier Rhodes finished with 19 points and going 7-9 from the field. A’lahn Sumner finished going 3-4 from the 3 point line, totaling 12 points. Sam Vinson chipped in 10 rebounds and 3 steals. Chris Brandon had 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. EKU’s Devontae Blanton lead all scorers with 23 points and 6 rebounds.
After the game, Coach Horn said that “If you would have told me that Warrick and Vinson would go 1-21 and we’d still win, I wouldn’t have believed you. It was a total team win, wasn’t a pretty one but a great win for us.”
NKU takes on the Miami-Hamilton Harriers next on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at Truist Arena. Live streaming available on ESPN+.