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Late 3-pointer lifts Illinois-Chicago past NKU, 69-67, on Sunday afternoon

NKyTribune staff

CHICAGO — A lost weekend for Northern Kentucky University on the basketball court has suddenly made the chase for the Horizon League regular-season championship a lot more interesting.

Going into the weekend, NKU owned a two-game lead in the Horizon League standings and appeared on the verge of running away with the title. After suffering a 69-67 loss at Illinois-Chicago on Sunday, the Norse are still in first place in the Horizon League, but the advantage is now just a game over preseason favorite Wright State.

NKU, which also lost at IUPUI on Friday night in the opener of the two-game road trip, dropped to 18-6 overall, 8-3 in the Horizon League. Jamie Ahale buried a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining to give UIC a 69-67 lead, and the Flames survived a final shot by NKU’s Tyler Sharpe to pull out the win.

Sharpe led NKU with 20 points, while Drew McDonald added 18 points. The Norse shot 41.7 percent from the field and were just 6-for-20 from 3-point range.

Jalen Tate finished with 12 points for NKU, which had taken a 67-66 lead with a minute left on a basket by McDonald. The Norse had rallied from a 66-59 deficit with an 8-0 run.

Tarkus Ferguson netted 19 points for UIC, which had lost five straight times to NKU prior to Sunday. Michael Diggins added 16 points as the Flames avenged an earlier 73-58 loss to the Norse at BB&T Arena.

UIC improved to 12-12 overall, 6-5 in the Horizon League. The Flames are 11-3 at home this season.

NKU plays host to Detroit Mercy at 7 p.m. Thursday at BB&T Arena.

(Information compiled from NKU Athletics Communications and staff reports)

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