Northern Kentucky University lost a heart breaker to Toledo, 57-55, at home on Saturday evening when Toledo guard Julius Brown sank a corner three-pointer with less than a second left to take their only lead of the game.
“That was probably one of the tougher losses we've had to endure because that is a really good team and we had in right in our hands,” Norse head coach Dave Bezold said.
The Norse put together one of their better halves of the season in the first when they held the Rockets to 22 percent shooting from the floor and made it hard for them to find any good looks. NKU freshman Tayler Persons looked to push the pace when he got the ball and forced the larger Toledo team to run with them. It worked well in the early going and Parsons found all kind of ways to get involved, as he had nine points, four assists and three rebounds before halftime.
Aside from a stretch where they were unable to rebound and gave up too many offensive boards, the Norse played nearly flawlessly as they ran out to 34-20 lead at halftime. They had limited their turnovers, shot well enough and forced Toledo into tough shot after tough shot. The starters were good, but both center Jalen Billups and forward Daniel Camps put in quality minutes off of the bench. The tandem teamed up for 10 points and six rebounds in the half.
Billups looks to have become more of a focal point for the Norse as it appeared there were a couple of times in key situations where Coach Bezold looked for his team to get the ball into Billups on the post. Once he had the ball in the paint, Billups was aggressive to the hoop, often being fouled.
Camps provided a spark by flying around the rim on putbacks and moving the ball to help his teammates find open shots on the parameter.