NKU Defeat DePauw Tigers 85-68, Improve to 1-2
by Sean Mackey
After losing to Washington last Thursday, the NKU Norse were looking to bounce back at their home opener at Truist Arena. The Norse started the season 0-2 with two disjointed performances that demanded their urgency on Tuesday night. The visiting DePauw Tigers hadn’t played NKU since Nov 17, 1989 when they lost 82-78. The Norse were determined not to let the visiting team even get started with a 34-year-in-the-making revenge game and defeated the Tigers, 85-68 for their first win of the season.
They opened the game aggressively from the get go, grabbing loose balls, getting easy layups and 3’s with ease. The first half was highlighted by Sam Vinson’s silky smooth 3 point shooting and a highlight reel alley oop dunk from Marquette transfer, Keeyan Itejere. Vinson’s hot shooting included a 3 pointer and (almost and-1) layup in a short 25 second sequence. Vinson led the team at the half with 13 points, 2 rebounds and a steal in the first 20 minutes of action. The Norse held the Tigers to 31% from the field and out rebounded them 22-16. They led at the half, 44-27 and at one point led by as much as 22 points.
The Norse laid it on thick during the 2nd half as well where they expanded their biggest lead to 28. The Tigers were once again out rebounded and outplayed. Marques Warrick (who was just 453 points behind Drew McDonald as NKU’s leading all time scorer at the beginning of the contest) helped run the score up with a barrage of jump shots and layups and ended the game with 21 points, 3 rebounds & 3 steals. Sam Vinson continued his first half hot streak to finish with 21 points (5-8 from the 3 point line), 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Junior, Cade Meyer chipped in 12 points and 4 boards off the bench. Sam Jacobs led the Tigers with 19 points.
After the game, NKU Head Coach, Darrin Horn said they wanted to get out and have an opportunity to run (24-6 in fast break points) and also said “we have guys who can shoot at a high level. We still have a lot of work to do. We need to be more aggressive and we need to defend the paint better than we did tonight. We're going to have to improve if we want to win on Sunday". After a career high five 3’s, Sam Vinson credited Michael Bradley (7 points, 7 assists) for pushing the tempo and getting him the ball in the right spots.
The Norse look to extend their win streak to 2 when they visit their local rivals, the University of Cincinnati this Sunday (11/19 at 2:00 p.m. EST, ESPN+). Last year’s win against UC was widely considered to be one of the most important wins in their program’s history.