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Horizon League teams work overtime in tourney quarterfinals; NKU faces Oakland in semifinals

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

Northern Kentucky outlasted Detroit Mercy with a last-second 70-69 win to advance to the Horizon League Tournament semifinals.

But it was not the only dramatic finish to a game during Tuesday night’s quarterfinal action around the Horizon League.

The biggest stunner of the evening occurred just up the road at second-seeded Wright State, which blew a 24-point lead in the final 6:26 of regulation and was upset by eighth-seeded Milwaukee in overtime, 94-92. The Raiders — who shared the Horizon League regular-season championship with Cleveland State — surrendered 33 points in the final 6:15 of regulation.

NKU and Detroit Mercy players react after David Böhm’s buzzer-beater gave the Norse a 70-69 victory on Tuesday night in the Horizon League Tournament quarterfinals. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

Top-seeded Cleveland State needed three overtimes to get past 10th-seeded Purdue Fort Wayne, 108-104. The Vikings improved to 17-7 overall and will meet Milwaukee (10-11) in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Indianapolis.

Third-seeded Oakland also went to overtime before pulling out an 87-83 win over sixth-seeded Youngstown State. The Golden Grizzlies (11-17) received double-doubles from Jalen Moore (20 points, 11 assists) and Daniel Oladapo (17 points, 10 rebounds) in that win.

Rashad Williams scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half to key Oakland’s victory over Youngstown State. NKU will meet Oakland at 9:30 p.m. on Monday in the other semifinal contest.

NKU’s Trevon Faulkner scores against Detroit Mercy. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

NKU and Oakland were scheduled to meet twice this season at Rochester, Mich., but the two-game series was canceled in January due to COVID-related matters within the Norse’s Tier 1 personnel.

The Horizon League championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday. NKU is the two-time defending champion of the Horizon League Tournament. The Norse have won the event three times in the past four years.

FAULKNER MOVES UP LIST: NKU junior guard Trevon Faulkner is now 36th all-time in Norse history with 939 career points. Former Norse standouts Jalen Tate and Dennis Gagai are tied for 34th place with 950 career points.

Faulkner, a graduate of Mercer County High School, averages 16.3 points per game.

AT BB&T ARENA THIS SEASON: Despite the absence of fans at BB&T Arena this season due to the pandemic, NKU finished with a 9-4 record at home. A year ago with fans in attendance each game, the Norse were 11-4 at BB&T Arena.

WARRICK REACHES 20-POINT MARK FOR 10TH TIME: NKU freshman guard Marques Warrick scored 20 points against Detroit Mercy, marking the 10th time this season the Lexington native has netted at least 20 points in a game.

Warrick averages 16.1 points per game, with a season-high of 25 points against Cleveland State on Jan. 9. The Henry Clay High School graduate was selected as the Horizon League Freshman of the Year and has buried 52 shots from 3-point range this season.

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

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