(Ryan Luster/48 Minutes Network)
NKU took on the visiting Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Friday night at Truist Arena. Both teams were riding high on a 2-game win streak. Oakland’s Jalen Moore was coming off a 25 point game against Green Bay on New Year’s Eve.
The first half was a back and forth grind fest. Both teams refused to give up an inch. Multiple fouls and timeouts really took the crowd out controlling any momentum. However, Marques Warrick’s first half 9 points really helped the Norse out in a 33-28 lead. Trey Townsend was an absolute problem for the Norse from the start with 12 points on 5-7 shooting. Both teams shot roughly 40% from the field during the first half and both teams had exactly 17 rebounds a piece. During the last 18 seconds before the buzzer, Oakland called a timeout to call a play. NKU then took a timeout and then an immediate foul from NKU took every bit of momentum out of the home crowd. NKU lead 33-28 before heading back to the locker rooms.
The second half was an absolute rock fight. The Norse and the Golden Grizzlies’ stifling defenses forced many airballs. No one could get into a rhythm. It took until the last 3 minutes of the game for Oakland’s Jalen Moore to get a field goal but he suddenly came alive. NKU held a 6 point lead with less than 2 minutes remaining, NKU gave up a three pointer, a single FG and then the unthinkable happened. Sophomore Sam Vinson had a costly foul on a Jalen Moore 3 pointer which gave Moore 3 free throws and Oakland the lead. On the final play of the game with 5.6 remaining Warrick drove the ball into traffic and was blocked. With 1.2 the Norse had one more opportunity however, Warrick missed the go ahead 3.
After the game, Coach Horn said the loss was not the result they wanted. He credited Jalen Moore. “That kid is dynamic down the stretch….give them credit for their effort down the stretch. Tonight we played pretty frustrated.”
Oakland is now on their first 3-game win streak of the season. NKU fall to 9-7. The Norse look to bounce back on Sunday afternoon (2:00 p.m., ESPN+) at Truist against Detroit.