Kennesaw State’s Wilson’s 22 Points Not Enough Against Norse

Kennesaw State guard Yonel Brown Photo credit: Kennesaw State Athletics
Kennesaw State guard Yonel Brown
Photo credit: Kennesaw State Athletics

Release from Kennesaw State Athletics:

A career high in points by Damien Wilson wasn’t enough for the Owls as Northern Kentucky topped Kennesaw State 76-72 at The Bank of Kentucky Center on Wednesday night.

“We had opportunities in both halves to win a tough game on the road,” head coach Jimmy Lallathin said. “We didn’t take advantage of those opportunities at times. I thought a couple of individuals really gave great effort on the defensive end, but in order to get wins on the road it has to be a collective team effort. We’ll grow from this experience. These experiences will perpetuate us to get some wins at home and give us some confidence and carry on through the A-Sun season.”

Wilson poured in 22 points setting a new career high by nine points. He also had five rebounds.

Yonel Brown also had 20 points to go along with four assists.

With 4:09 left, Nigel Pruitt hit a three to get the Owls within five points. KSU continued to hang around when Brown made three free throws and Delbert Love hit a three with 55 seconds left to cut it to four, but that’s as close as the team would get as the Norse closed it out 76-72.

To start the game, Wilson and Brown both made jumpers in the first two possessions for the Owls to take a quick 4-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Love got going early hitting two three pointers to give KSU their largest lead of the game up 10-5.

Northern Kentucky then cracked down on the defensive end forcing the Owls into nine turnovers in the opening frame and stretched out their lead to as much as ten.

The Owls closed the half making six for eight shots and cut the deficit down to one on a Love three, but three costly turnovers by the Owls in the final 1:03 helped Northern Kentucky to a 41-34 lead at the break.

Coming out of the locker room down seven, the Norse hit two quick threes within the first minutes pushing their lead to 13 forcing the Owls to take a timeout. A couple minutes later, NKU had its biggest lead of the game up 15 after Chad Jackson hit a layup.

KSU responded with a 7-0 run behind five points from Wilson to get the lead back down to eight. Both teams traded baskets for the rest of the half until Pruitt got the Owls within five at the 4:09 mark.

The loss moves Kennesaw State to 5-13 and 0-2 in Atlantic Sun play.

Sawyers Career Night Propels Owls to 66-58 Comeback Win Over Norse

Kennesaw State sophomore guard Deandrea Sawyers (left)Photo credit: Kennesaw State Athletics
Kennesaw State sophomore guard Deandrea Sawyers (left)
Photo credit: Kennesaw State Athletics

Release from Kennesaw State Athletics:

Behind a career-high 26 points from sophomore Deandrea Sawyers, the Kennesaw State women’s basketball team used a 47-point second half to earn its first win in an Atlantic Sun Conference home opener since 2008-09 with a 66-58 victory over Northern Kentucky on Wednesday night (Jan. 14) at the KSU Convocation Center.

“It was exciting,” said head coach Nitra Perry. “People were saying it was exciting to watch, but it was not as fun to coach. I am just excited that we got that win. We bounded back from an awful free throw shooting the last game, so this game free throws did make the difference and I thought down the stretch the girls responded and they did what they need to do.”

The Owls improved to 13-4 on the season and are 2-0 in Atlantic Sun Conference play for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Sawyers connected on 6-of-12 from the floor, including a 4-of-8 mark from the three-point lane and draining 10-of-11 free throws, while also registering a game-high eight rebounds and two assists in the win. Redshirt-freshman Kelly Dulkoski added a second-half spark with 12 points, going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

“It felt good,” said Sawyers of her performance. “I always just remember Coach Perry saying it would be a tough game and you have to grind the whole way out. That is what my team and I did and we made it and pushed it through to get the win.”

The Norse jumped quickly out of the gate for a 10-2 lead eight minutes into the first half, while holding KSU to just one field goal in the first 12 minutes of the contest. Back-to-back three-pointers from Sawyers then spurred a 10-2 run to even the score at 15-15 with 5:34 remaining in the period.

NKU responded with back-to-back treys of its own to run ahead by six just before halftime. Both teams then traded scores to go into intermission with the Norse holding a 25-19 advantage.

The Owls closed within a point out of the break, before Dulkoski hit her first three of the game to give KSU its first lead of the contest at 38-37 with 12 minutes to go.

Dulkoski continued her hot streak with two-straight three-pointers to send the Owls back into the lead, this time for good, at 46-44 with 8:39 left on the clock. Over the course of the next five minutes, the Owls built a five-point advantage, before Sawyers and Dulkoski drained back-to-back threes to extend the KSU lead to its largest of the game at 61-50 with less than two minutes to go in regulation.

A pair of Norse treys closed the gap to 62-56, but free throws down the stretch sealed the 66-58 victory for the Owls.

Junior Jasmine McAllister joined Sawyers and Dulkoski in double figures with 11 point, while senior Kristina Wells added nine points, seven rebounds, a game-high six assists and two steals.

As a team, KSU registered a 40.9 percentage from the field on 18-of-44 shooting, including going 9-of-20 from three-point land.

KSU bounced back from a poor performance at the charity stripe at USC Upstate last Saturday to shoot 77.8 percent from the free throw line, connecting on 21-of-27 freebies.

The Owls outrebounded the Norse, 33-30, with sophomore Aareon Smith grabbing seven boards to go along with Sawyers’ eight and Wells’ seven.

Rianna Gayheart paced NKU with 13 points, while Christine Roush added 12 points in the loss.