Warrick scores 45 as Northern Kentucky downs Tennessee Tech in double overtime

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Marques Warrick took the ball with a look of determination, put up the shot and the crowd at Truist Arena erupted when it swished through the net.

Warrick scored a Northern Kentucky Division I-era school record 45 points, making 18 of 31 shots including eight points on two three-pointers in the second overtime to lift the Norse men’s basketball team to an 85-77 victory over the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and help the Norse snap their three-game losing streak Sunday.

The 18 made field goals are also a program record.

“It was a great college basketball game – a lot of back and forth,” said Darrin Horn, NKU head coach. “I thought both teams really competed at a high level. I was really pleased with the response our guys had in the second half. It’s my responsibility to make sure we get better at it. But we didn’t come out defensively and focus on the things that we need to – mainly taking away the three-point shot in the first half. But we did a much better job in the second half.”

Warrick also had four rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot while turning the ball over just once for Northern Kentucky. Both teams are 3-4 on the season.

“Forget the 45. I just wanted to win,” Warrick said. “I told this team before the game, ‘Whatever it takes.’ We have two starters out. A few people off the bench are going to have to step up.”

Those two missing starters are fifth-year guard Xavier Rhodes and sophomore point guard Sam Vinson. But Hubertas Pivorius picked up some of the slack hitting 4 of 8 three-point shots on his way to 16 points, and fifth-year guard Trevon Faulker scored eight. Junior guard Jake Evans added seven assists.

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“We’ve put a lot of emphasis in the last two practices of sharing the ball more and looking for guys on the opposite side of the floor,” Pivorius said. “All credit to my teammates. They were finding me and I was able to knock some shots down.”

Fifth-year 6-foot-8-inch forward Chris Brandon had the daunting task of battling Tennessee Tech’s leading scorer and rebounder in the paint, 6-7 graduate student forward Jaylen Sebree. Sebree finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds increasing his team-high averages to 12.4 points and seven rebounds per game. But the nation’s leading rebounder had 19 points to go with six points, four steals and three assists to help the Norse.

“It’s big for me to grab the ball and take away their second shots,” Brandon said. “It also allows us to get those fast points.”

Horn admitted to overscheduling four games in seven days against really good competition. The Norse lost to Toledo, Texas-Arlington, and Florida Gulf Coast in three straight days at the Florida Gulf Coast Showcase on Monday through Wednesday.

Northern Kentucky made 33 of 71 shots for 47 percent including 11 of 28 from three-point range for 39 percent and 8 of 11 free throws for 73 percent. Tennessee Tech made 28 of 60 shots for 47 percent including 12 of 23 from three-point range for 52 percent and 9 of 16 free throws for 56 percent. The Golden Eagles won the rebounding battle, 40-36.

The Golden Eagles had three players score in double figures. Junior guards Brett Thompson and Jayvis Harvey scored 19 and 10 points respectively.

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Northern Kentucky trailed 37-27 at halftime before coming back to send the game to overtime tied at 63. The teams tied 7-7 in the first overtime before the Norse outscored the Golden Eagles, 15-7 in the second overtime. Brandon hit two free throws with 16 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 63. The Norse missed two potential game-winning shots to end regulation and the first overtime.

Northern Kentucky plays host to Youngstown State (5-2) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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