Jacksonville Sports Day

MBB: UNF Outlasts NKU For Another Road Victory

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. –– The North Florida men’s basketball team outlasted Northern Kentucky, 74-66, on Thursday night at The Bank of Kentucky Center to extend their current win streak to five games while remaining unblemished in Atlantic Sun Conference play.

The Ospreys (12-9, 4-0 A-Sun) established a new program record for best start in Atlantic Sun competition after collecting their first ever win at NKU (8-11, 2-2).

Sophomore Chris Davenport, who made his return to the UNF lineup after missing the team’s last game, finished with a season-best 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Beau Beech hit a late three-pointer to squelch a late surge by the Norse.

Beech’s trey stretched the Ospreys lead to 65-58 with 2:10 left and North Florida made 7 of 10 free throws in the final minute to hold on for the team’s third conference road win of the year. Dallas Moore added 19 points and Beech chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds.

Chad Jackson had 26 points, Jalen Billups scored 18 and Tyler White added 12 points for Northern Kentucky.

“I’m extremely proud of these guys and the way they continue to demonstrate amazing resiliency,” said head coach Matthew Driscoll. “I thought we really were able to step up big and get some key defensive stops down the stretch. NKU was strong on the glass especially offensively and we have to figure some things out in that area. It’s a little disappointing to have been outrebounded tonight but I felt like we were able to get some game deciding boards in the final minutes. Chris (Davenport) played one of his best games and Beau (Beech) made a coupld of huge threes. Road wins are always extra important so I’m really excited for the team.”

After an early back-and-forth affair, the Ospreys surged ahead midway through the first half on the strength of an 19-6 run. The scoring spurt allowed UNF to earn a 30-22 advantage with a little over a minute left in the opening stanza. The squads traded baskets to the break with North Florida owning a 33-27 halftime lead.

NKU came out of the break with some aggressiveness trimming the UNF lead to two, 37-35, just four minutes into the half. Davenport ignited a decisive 11-2 run by the Ospreys scoring five of the points including back-to-back thunderous slams to cap the run and put UNF in front by its largest margin, 48-37, with 12:14 remaining.

Trailing by double digits an 8-0 NKU run pulled them within a single possession, 48-45, but the Norse never got closer. Jordan Jackson’s layup made it just 62-58 with 2:31 to play before UNF secured the victory from the free throw line.

North Florida, who has played 17 of its first 21 games away from home, concludes its current three-game road swing on Saturday against Atlantic Sun co-leader Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn.

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