NKU Norse Drop Season Opener to Middle Tennessee, 74-57
by Sean Mackey
After a successful 2022-23 season which ended with a trip to the NCAA Tournament, the NKU Norse Men’s basketball team opened up their 51st season on the road Monday evening. While the Norse are expected to make some noise in the Horizon League for a 2nd straight year, things did not go well at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. The Norse dropped the season opener to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, 74-57.
After their first basket, the Norse trailed for the remainder of the game. The Blue Raiders played with tenacity throughout the first half and at one point built a 25 point lead. Their stifling defense held the Norse to 30% from the field during the first half. They caused 12 turnovers and hit 6 three pointers. With the exception of a quick transition dunk by Trey Robinson, just about every basket was hard to get through the Raiders.
While the Norse outrebounded the home team 20-15, Middle Tennessee ended the half shooting 50% from behind the arc and 51% from the field. Senior, Elias King had 9 points and 2 steals to lead the Blue Raiders to a 45-21 halftime deficit. Sam Vinson chipped in 6 first half points for the Norse.
The Norse went on to out score Middle Tennessee 36-29 but with the exception of an 11-0 run lead by NKU’s Vinson, the second half was much of the same. The Norse were too deep in a hole to make any serious noise against the Blue Raiders. Elias King finished the game 4-6 from the 3 point line with 14 points and 4 rebounds. He was a +30. Marques Warrick lead the Norse with 18 points. Sam Vinson chipped in 13 points and 6 rebounds.
The NKU Norse look to bounce back on the road this Thursday night (11/9) when they visit the Washington Huskies (ESPN+, 11:00 p.m. EST) before returning to Highland Heights for their home opener on Tuesday 11/14.