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Sharpe, McDonald combine for 42 points as NKU posts 91-76 win at Cleveland State on Thursday

NKyTribune staff

CLEVELAND — Northern Kentucky University wasn’t about to forget last season’s upsetting experience at Motor City Madness. That meant trouble for Cleveland State on Thursday night when the Norse visited the Wolstein Center.

Drew McDonald finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and six assists as NKU posted a 91-76 victory at Cleveland State, avenging its shocking loss to the Vikings in the quarterfinals of Motor City Madness last March. Tyler Sharpe poured in 23 points for the Norse, who connected on 15 shots from 3-point range and improved to 15-4 overall, 5-1 in the Horizon League.

NKU’s Drew McDonald finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and six assists on Thursday night. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Zaynah Robinson came off the bench and scored 12 points in the first half — all on 3-pointers — as NKU built a 48-41 lead at the break. McDonald added 11 points and seven rebounds during the opening 20 minutes for the Norse, who shot 55.9 percent from the field in the first half.

NKU gradually extended its advantage in the second half, leading by as many as 20 points. Jalen Tate finished with 17 points and seven rebounds for NKU, while Robinson also scored 17. Robinson drained a career-high five 3-pointers, while Sharpe also made five treys. The Norse were 15-for-32 from beyond the arc.

Rashad Williams scored 23 points to pace Cleveland State, which dropped to 5-15 overall, 0-7 in the Horizon League. The Vikings played without leading scorer Tyree Appleby (17.8 points per contest), who missed Thursday’s game due to an illness.

“We did not play with a sense of urgency defensively, and we gave up 11 3-pointers to a team that was without its best player,” NKU head coach John Brannen said. “It’s good to win on the road and score 91 points, but we have to get it fixed on the defensive end.”

Stefan Kenic added 11 points for Cleveland State, which has lost seven consecutive games. NKU — which is tied with Detroit Mercy for first place in the Horizon League standings — is now 5-3 all-time against Cleveland State.

McDonald, a Newport Central Catholic graduate, now has 10 double-doubles this season and 44 in his career. NKU is 11-0 this season when a player registers a double-double.

In the last 26 games against Horizon League opponents, McDonald has 18 double-doubles.

NKU concludes the two-game Horizon League road trip Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest at Youngstown State. The Penguins dropped an 80-74 decision to Wright State on Thursday night.

(Information compiled from NKU Athletics Communications and staff reports)

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