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Böhm’s buzzer-beater lifts NKU to 70-69 win over Detroit Mercy in Horizon League Tournament

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

With less than five seconds remaining in the game against Detroit Mercy on Tuesday night, Northern Kentucky’s season appeared to be history.

Instead, NKU freshman David Böhm produced a historic moment that kept the Norse’s goal of a Horizon League Tournament three-peat alive.

With NKU trailing 69-68 and 7.5 seconds left on the clock, Marques Warrick missed a runner off the glass. Böhm, in perfect rebounding position on the weak side, quickly followed Warrick’s miss with three straight unsuccessful tip attempts.

David Böhm scores at the buzzer to give NKU a 70-69 victory over Detroit Mercy in the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday night. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

As the clock wound down, Böhm’s fourth putback attempt went through the basket as the buzzer sounded, giving NKU an improbable 70-69 come-from-behind victory.

“I was just thinking ‘crash the boards’ and see what’s in there,” Böhm said of the hectic final seconds. “I saw I was open and just tipped it in.”

Böhm’s buzzer-beater punched NKU’s ticket to Indianapolis for the Horizon League Tournament semifinals, where the fourth-seeded Norse (14-10) will meet third-seeded Oakland (11-17) at 9:30 p.m. on Monday. NKU is the two-time defending Horizon League Tournament champion.

Top-seeded Cleveland State takes on eighth-seeded Milwaukee — which upset No. 2 seed Wright State on Tuesday night — in the other semifinal contest next Monday night.

With 3:45 remaining in the game Tuesday night, though, it appeared NKU’s quest for a third straight Horizon League title was over. Detroit Mercy held a 69-64 lead after a jumper by Bul Kuol that capped a 16-7 run. Kuol’s basket, however, turned out to be the final score of the evening for the visiting Titans.

Warrick made two free throws with 2:51 left on the clock to cut the Detroit Mercy lead to 69-66. Neither team scored for the next 2 1/2 minutes, but Adrian Nelson’s basket ended the drought with just 21 seconds remaining.

NKU, which had just three team fouls, was forced to foul four times in the next seven seconds. With 14 seconds left, Detroit Mercy’s Noah Waterman then missed the front end of the bonus and Böhm tapped the defensive rebound to Nelson.

Marques Warrick attempts a shot in the final seconds against Detroit Mercy. David Böhm followed the miss with a basket at the buzzer to give NKU a 70-69 win. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Trevon Faulkner drove to the basket, but his shot was deflected out of bounds by Detroit Mercy with 7.5 ticks left on the clock. That set the stage for Böhm’s last-second heroics.

Had Böhm ever hit a buzzer-beater to win a game before Tuesday night?

“Never in my life,” said the 6-foot-9 freshman, who finished with 11 points, six rebounds and two assists.

Warrick scored 20 points to lead NKU, which shot 44.3 percent from the field. Bryson Langdon netted 15 of his 17 points in the first half for the Norse, who built a 40-37 lead at the break. Langdon also dished out six assists and collected two steals

“It’s March, and we expected nothing less than the kind of game that was played tonight,” NKU head coach Darrin Horn said. “Quite honestly, I didn’t think we were that good. But really proud of our guys, that they stuck with it, especially after we got down late in the game.

“Great job by (Warrick) getting to the glass, and an unbelievable job by David Böhm sticking with it and being able to get the tip-in for the win.”

Böhm entered the game averaging 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest.

“Give him credit. He’s come so far,” Horn said of Böhm. “That’s not a play he could have made maybe even a month ago. But he really, really stuck his nose in there, stuck with it and got us the win.”

Faulkner added 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists for NKU, which finished with a 35-22 advantage on the glass. Nelson scored nine points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.

Kuol led Detroit Mercy (12-10) with 20 points. Waterman finished with 19 points — including five 3-pointers — while Antoine Davis added 16 points and five assists.

Davis entered Tuesday as the Horizon League’s top scorer at 24.3 points per game. He drained four shots from 3-point range as Detroit Mercy finished 13-for-31 from beyond the arc.

NKU holds a 10-2 lead in the all-time series with Detroit Mercy.

Don Owen is sports editor of the Northern Kentucky Tribune. Contact him at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport.

NKU players react after David Böhm’s rebound basket at the buzzer gives the Norse a heart-stopping 70-69 win over Detroit Mercy. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Adrian Nelson of NKU scores a basket against Detroit Mercy defender Chris Brandon (21) in the second half on Tuesday night. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

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One Comment

  1. Marqus Warrick says:

    When last was davis held to 16 points?

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