(Ryan Luster/48 Minutes Network)
By Sean Mackey
Hot off a buzzer beating, game winning 3 point shot on Thursday night, the NKU Nose took on the visiting Fort Wayne Mastodons Saturday evening. The #1 seed in the Horizon League standings was on the line and the NKU Norse delivered, beating PFW 74-54 at home.
The first half was the Sam Vinson show. Vinson entered this contest 12th in the nation in steals. Vinson had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 dramatic loose ball dives in the first 20 minutes. He was involved in every aspect of the offense and defense and was a genuine terror for PFW. Trey Robinson went 3-5 from the 3 point line with 11 points. NKU kept the defensive pressure on during the first half with lots of double teams and forced bad shots. They had 13 defensive rebounds and 8 steals. They shot 42.9% from the field.
The Norse put their foot on the gas at the beginning of the 2nd half and never looked back. Marques Warrick (who only had 2 points in the first half) started to quickly heat up and went on to have 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists bolstering a large lead well into the game. NKU outscored PFW 45-31 in the last 20 minutes and at one point lead by 26 points. Sam Vinson ended the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 assists. Trevon Faulkner
chipped in 14 points off the bench. Bobby Planutis and Damian Chong Qui both had 10 points for Fort Wayne.
After the game, NKU Head Coach, Darrin Horn said that it was NKU’s most complete game of the season (both ends). “Give our guys credit for a quick turnaround, those 1 day turnarounds aren’t easy. PFW is a very tough team to prepare for”. On Warrick’s 2nd big game in a row, Coach Horn said “Marques is one of those guys that gets 15 just by lacing up his shoes. If he plays the right way, he’s going to score the basketball.”
Up next for the Norse, the visiting Green Bay Phoenix will be at Truist Arena Thursday night (1/26 at 7:00 p.m.) As always, the game can be viewed on ESPN+.