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Tate, Faulkner combine for 40 points, NKU rolls to 84-65 win over Detroit Mercy on Saturday night

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Statistics should confirm what a basketball coach already knows, so Darrin Horn wasn’t surprised to see the impressive numbers produced by Jalen Tate and Trevon Faulkner on Saturday night.

Tate and Faulkner combined for 40 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as NKU routed Detroit Mercy 84-65 in front of a Homecoming crowd of 6,231 at BB&T Arena. Tate dominated action and finished with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Norse, who avenged a 66-58 loss to the Titans and improved to 18-7 overall, 10-3 in the Horizon League.

Faulkner added 16 points, six rebounds and three assists as NKU extended its winning streak to four. The Norse led by as many as 22 points in the second half and held Titans scoring machine Antoine Davis to just 10 points — 13 below his season’s average.

NKU’s Jalen Tate (11) drives against Detroit Mercy defender Antoine Davis during the second half. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Tate and Faulkner anchored the defensive effort with plenty of intensity, not to mention the memory of what happened at Detroit a month ago.

“I can’t say enough about how Jalen Tate and Trevon Faulkner played, just competed tonight,” Horn said. “Their numbers are terrific, but even more than that, how they impacted our team with the aggressiveness that they played with.

“The voice they had on the floor tonight, a lot of things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet. Like both of those guys at different times running at Antoine Davis and trying to make it difficult for him. Maybe getting a hand on the ball that they don’t come up with because someone else grabs it and steals it.”

Tate, one of the top defensive players in the nation, demonstrated his offensive skills in front of the big crowd by shooting 9–of-13 from the field and finding open teammates for baskets. He netted 13 points in the first half as NKU took a 41-35 lead into the locker room.

What was the difference between Saturday night and the first game with Detroit Mercy?

“We weren’t quite sure with our defense early on,” Tate said. “That game, after seeing the film especially, it was awful. Like night and day, honestly. But tonight the energy picked up. The communication on the defensive end and defensive rebounding (was better). And we held their bigs to much lower totals than we did the first time.”

Detroit Mercy big man Justin Miller, who hurt NKU a month ago with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, was held to 11 points and four boards Saturday night. Most of the Titans’ offense came from guard Dwayne Rose Jr., who converted all 10 of his free throws and finished with 21 points.

NKU controlled the backboards, finishing with a 38-29 advantage in rebounds. Adrian Nelson continued his emergence as a force on the glass, collecting 13 rebounds with six of those coming on the offensive boards. He also added four steals and scored six points.

NKU’s Tyler Sharpe (15) goes airborne while defending Detroit Mercy’s Alonde LeGrand. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

During the past two games, Nelson has grabbed 15 offensive rebounds among his 24 total boards.

“I wouldn’t say there’s any secret to it, just being more determined than the other team and wanting it more,” said Nelson, who used that relentless energy to constantly beat Detroit Mercy to the boards. “Understanding my role, doing the best I can, and help my team win.”

Said Horn: “The job Adrian Nelson continues to do is just outstanding.”

Tyler Sharpe added 17 points and four steals for NKU, which shot 45.2 percent from the field. The Norse also received a big boost from the bench, getting 21 points from the reserves.

Sophomore Bryant Mocaby drained a pair of 3-pointers in the first half and finished with eight points. Mocaby’s production was especially key since NKU leading scorer Dantez Walton was plagued by foul trouble much of the game and point guard Bryson Langdon sat out with an injury.

“I thought (Mocaby) responded well,” Horn said, noting Mocaby’s eight points. “More importantly, he had two assists and no turnovers. So, all positives tonight.”

Chris Brandon grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for Detroit Mercy, which dropped to 6-19 overall, 4-8 in the Horizon League. NKU is now 9-2 all-time against the Titans.

Among the big crowd inside BB&T Arena was Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who made the trip to watch his son Brad score eight points for Detroit Mercy. Horn said he spoke with the elder Calipari after the game. “He’s always been great to me, so I was really glad he got to watch his son play in person tonight,” Horn said.

NKU plays host to IUPUI at 7 p.m. on Friday.


Davis 4-12 0-2 10, Miller 5-9 1-1 11, Rose 5-9 10-10 21, Calipari 2-6 2-3 8, Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Brandon 2-4 1-4 5, LeGrand 0-0 0-0 0, Isiani 3-5 1-3 8, Gorman 0-0 0-0 0, Hofman 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 21-47 17-25 65.
Sharpe 4-11 6-6 17, Adheke 0-3 0-0 0, Faulkner 6-15 3-6 16, Tate 9-13 5-6 24, Walton 2-5 1-2 6, Nelson 2-4 2-4 6, Djoko 1-1 1-1 3, Mocaby 2-5 2-2 8, Harris 1-3 0-0 2, Cobbs 0-0 0-2 0, Wassler 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-62 20-29 84.
HALFTIME: NKU 41-35. 3-POINTERS: (NKU 8-22, UDM 6-20). REBOUNDS: NKU 38 (Nelson 13), UDM 29 (Brandon 14).
RECORDS: NKU 18-7, 10-3 HL; Detroit Mercy 6-19, 4-8 HL.

NKU’s Trevon Faulkner (right) goes past Detroit Mercy’s Brad Calipari for a basket in the second half. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

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