National Basketball Association
Louisville 66, Northern Kentucky 58
When: 7:00 PM ET, Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Where: KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky
# Brent Hampson, # Craig Murley, # Edwin Young
Deng Adel scored 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, and second-seeded Louisville pulled away for a 66-58 win over seventh-seeded Northern Kentucky in a first-round NIT matchup Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
Louisville (21-13) advances to play third-seeded Middle Tennessee, which routed sixth-seeded Vermont 91-64 later Tuesday. The Cardinals, who learned Sunday evening they did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament, are playing in their first NIT since 2006.
Northern Kentucky (22-10) finished with 20-plus victories for the second consecutive season. The Norse won the Horizon League regular-season title but lost in the first round of the conference tournament.
Ryan McMahon scored 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting off the bench for Louisville. Ray Spalding also shined off the bench as he pulled down 13 rebounds to go along with four blocked shots and seven points.
Drew McDonald led Northern Kentucky with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Lavone Holland II added 15 points.
A strong second half propelled Louisville. The Cardinals outscored the Norse 43-28 in the second half, which was broken up into 10-minute quarters as part of new rules in the NIT.
A 9-0 run by Louisville to open the fourth quarter increased the lead to 54-44. McMahon drained a 3-pointer and made a layup to spark the scoring binge.
Northern Kentucky climbed back within 59-54 with 2:22 to play on a jump shot by Dantez Walton. The Norse failed to draw any closer, as a dunk by Spalding and a free throw by Adel built the lead back to eight.
Louisville led 45-44 entering the fourth quarter. Darius Perry provided a highlight-reel play at the end of the third quarter when he sprinted down the court on a breakaway and leaped for a thunderous, one-handed dunk on his 19th birthday.
Northern Kentucky established a 30-23 lead at halftime as Louisville struggled to find its rhythm on offense. The Cardinals managed only seven points in the second quarter and ended the half with a 3:18 scoring drought.
Norse guard Tyler Sharpe scored five points off the bench against his former team. Sharpe was a walk-on player for Louisville before transferring to Northern Kentucky.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Drew McDonald 19
Deng Adel 20
Jalen Tate 3
V.J. King 3
Drew McDonald 13
Ray Spalding 13
LaVone Holland II 3
||Free Throws Made
Deng Adel 5
Jordan Garnett 2
Ray Spalding 3
Jordan Garnett 1
Ray Spalding 4
Team Stats Summary