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Looking to rebound from first loss, NKU visits in-state rival Morehead State on Tuesday night

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Both teams are coming off weekend losses, and neither squad has much time to prepare for the other. Throw in the fact it’s an in-state rivalry, and you have all the ingredients for a high-intensity game Tuesday night when Northern Kentucky University visits Morehead State at 7:35 p.m.

NKU is 6-1 after dropping a 66-53 decision at Central Florida on Saturday night. The Knights (5-1) held the Norse to just 32.2 percent shooting from the field and finished with a 51-35 advantage on the boards.

Drew McDonald scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds for NKU, which shot just 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from the free-throw line. McDonald has now scored 1,569 career points and is also No. 2 in Norse history with 831 rebounds. LaRon Moore is NKU’s all-time leader with 859 rebounds.

NKU’s Drew McDonald has scored 1,569 career points and is also No. 2 in Norse history with 831 rebounds. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

McDonald leads NKU in scoring (19.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.9 rpg). He has also collected three double-doubles this season.

Tyler Sharpe scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds against UCF, while Dantez Walton added 11 points and five rebounds. NKU played without defensive standout Jalen Tate, who missed the game with an unspecified injury.

Morehead State, meanwhile, fell to visiting Lipscomb by an 87-55 score on Sunday afternoon in Johnson Arena. Lipscomb used a 20-4 run in the first half to build a 48-26 lead at intermission and coasted past the Eagles, who dropped to 2-4 this season.

Morehead State’s Lamontray Harris collected his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds against Lipscomb. A.J. Hicks added 13 points for the Eagles, who were just 3-for-22 from 3-point range.

Jordan Walker leads Morehead State in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Harris averages 12.7 points per contest, while Hicks is scoring at an 11.8 ppg clip. The Eagles average 77.7 points per game, but they are surrendering 84.8 ppg.

THE SERIES: Morehead State owns a 7-3 advantage in the all-times series with NKU, but the Norse have won three of the past four games with the Eagles. A year ago, Drew McDonald scored a game-high 22 points as NKU posted an 86-49 victory over Morehead State at BB&T Arena.

McDonald also became the 26th member of NKU’s 1,000-point club in that game when he buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key off an assist from Jordan Garnett at the 18:43 mark. The Newport Central Catholic product drained a trio of 3-pointers during a second-half spurt that extended a 38-28 Norse lead at intermission to 49-28 with 17:41 remaining on the clock.

Joining McDonald in double figures for NKU were Lavone Holland II (17 points), Carson Williams (13), Jalen Tate (10) and Jeff Garrett (10). The Norse were 12-for-20 from 3-point range, including 8-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half.

Two years ago during an 84-79 victory at Morehead State, McDonald finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds. In the last two meetings with Morehead State, McDonald has averaged 27 points and shot 66.7 percent from both the field (20-of-30) and from 3-point range (8-of-12).

FAMILIAR TERRITORY: On Nov. 29, 1993, current NKU head coach John Brannen scored 19 points and sparked Morehead State to an 85-79 victory over the Norse at Morehead, Ky. Brannen converted nine free throws and drained a pair of 3-pointers in that win over NKU.

Brannen spent two seasons at Morehead State before transferring to Marshall and completing his career with the Thundering Herd. He scored a combined 1,533 points as a collegiate player. Brannen actually joined Marshall’s 1,000-point club with a total of 1,008 in two seasons.

Tuesday, Nov. 27
Johnson Arena (6,500), Morehead, Ky.
NKU (6-1) at Morehead State (2-4), 7:35 p.m.
NKU Radio: FOXSports 1360 (1360 AM)
Series Record: Morehead State leads, 7-3
Last Meeting: NKU 86, Morehead State 49 (Dec. 2, 2017)

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

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