HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final 2:36 of the game Saturday night to post a 66-62 win over Jacksonville in front of a record-crowd of 6,719 in The Bank of Kentucky Center.
Trailing 58-45 with 2:36 left on the clock, Northern Kentucky applied full-court pressure and forced six turnovers to ignite a game-ending 21-4 run. Freshman guard Todd Johnson began the Norse rally with a 3-pointer while being fouled. He converted the free throw with 2:09 remaining to make it a 58-49 game.
A steal by Johnson on the Jacksonville inbounds pass led to a layup by Tyler White, cutting the Jacksonville lead to 58-51. Another Jacksonville turnover and a dunk by Ernest Watson brought the Norse to within five points (58-53), and when Johnson made a pair of free throws with 1:03 on the clock, Northern Kentucky had sliced the deficit to 58-55.
After Jacksonville made three free throws in the next eight seconds, a layup by Chad Jackson and a 3-pointer by Ethan Faulkner cut the Dolphin lead to 61-60 with 40 seconds left. Another turnover by Jacksonville gave the Norse a chance to take the lead, but Eshaunte Jones missed a 3-point attempt.
Anthony Monaco, however, was fouled inside by Jacksonville’s Jarvis Haywood going for the rebound of Jones’ miss with 20 seconds left. Monaco made both free throws to give Northern Kentucky a 62-61 lead.
Johnson forced another Jacksonville turnover with a steal in the closing seconds, and Jackson added two free throws to extend the Norse lead to 64-61. Russell Powell as fouled by Johnson before he could get a shot off near midcourt on Jacksonville’s next possession with 6.8 seconds left, and it was ruled in the act of shooting.
Powell, though, missed the first free-throw attempt, made the second and was called for stepping over the line while intentionally missing the third shot. Jones sealed the win by making two free throws.
Northern Kentucky improved to 11-15 overall, 9-9 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Jackson led the Norse with 19 points, and he also grabbed eight rebounds. Watson hauled in 11 rebounds and dished out four assists, while Faulkner added 12 points and five assists.
Keith McDougal scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Jacksonville, which dropped to 14-17 overall, 9-9 in the A-Sun.
Northern Kentucky concludes the regular season March 14 with a non-conference game at San Francisco.