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NKU meets Detroit Mercy in Horizon League Tourney opener; Thomas More women to host Transy

NKyTribune staff

Northern Kentucky University meets Detroit Mercy in the quarterfinals of the men’s basketball Horizon League Tournament at 7 p.m. Wednesday at BB&T Arena.

NKU is 23-8 and the No. 2 seed in the Horizon League, while Detroit Mercy is 11-19 and the No. 7 seed. The Norse shared the Horizon League regular-season championship with Wright State as both teams finished 13-5.

Wright State earned the No. 1 seed due to its two wins against No. 3 seed Oakland.

NKU’s Jalen Tate was named Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 24 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two wins. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

NKU is 7-1 all-time against Detroit Mercy and owns a six-game winning streak in the series, but the Titans’ lone win came in BB&T Arena in 2016. NKU’s 16 home wins this season are the second-most in program history, trailing the 1982-83 team’s 17-0 mark.

The NKU/Detroit Mercy winner earns a trip to Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for the Horizon League Tournament semifinals on March 11. Other first-round tournament games this week feature IUPUI at Wright State, Illinois-Chicago at Green Bay, and Youngstown State at Oakland.

NKU’s Jalen Tate was named Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 24 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two wins. Tate scored a career-high 30 points at Green Bay, including a crucial basket in the final minute that helped the Norse earn a share of the Horizon League title.

Tate averages 14.1 points and is shooting 57.4 percent from the field, which ranks 36th nationally.

Drew McDonald leads NKU in scoring (19.3 points) and rebounding (9.6 rebounds). McDonald is one of five active players in Division I basketball with at least 2,000 career points (2,011) and 1,000 career boards (1,051), and he is seventh among active players with 47 career double-doubles. The Cold Spring native became NKU’s all-time career scoring leader when he connected on a 3-pointer in the second half against Green Bay on Saturday.

Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis is one of the top scorers in the country, averaging 26.0 points per game (No. 3 nationally). He recently set the NCAA’s all-time freshman mark for 3-point field goals in a season. He has drained 128 treys in 2018-19.

TMU WOMEN MEET TRANSY: Top-ranked Thomas More plays host to 18th-ranked Transylvania at 7 p.m. Friday in the women’s basketball NCAA Division III Tournament sectional semifinals. Friday’s other sectional semifinal at the Connor Convocation Center features 12th-ranked Washington (St. Louis) taking on No. 22 Mary Hardin-Baylor at 5 p.m.

The winners will meet Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Connor Convocation Center, with a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four stake.

Thomas More enters Friday with a 29-0 record, while Transylvania is 27-2. Washington owns a 21-6 record, and Mary Hardin-Baylor is 27-3. Earlier this season, Thomas More posted a 73-55 win at Mary Hardin-Baylor.

A year ago, Thomas More advanced to the NCAA Division III Final Four. The Saints won back-to-back NCAA Division III national championships in 2015 and ’16, though the NCAA later forced Thomas More to vacate the ’15 title for using an ineligible player.

(Information compiled from NKU Athletics Communications, Thomas More and staff reports)

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