In front of a "blackout" crowd at the Bank of Kentucky Center, Thursday, No. 9 Northern Kentucky University lost to No. 7 Kentucky Wesleyan College, 74-57. It was the first loss at home this season for the Norse.
"They just out-toughed us in our own building," senior guard Jon Van Hoose said.
The Norse started out strong, with Van Hoose draining a three-pointer within the first minute of the game. Van Hoose leads the nation in three-pointers, averaging 3.9 per game. He shot 4-for-14 from behind the arc in the loss to KWC.
Van Hoose quickly followed it up with a bucket in the paint on an assist by Ethan Faulkner. Van Hoose and Faulkner shared the leading scoring position with Ernest "Stretch" Watson, as they all put up 14 points.
The Norse were able to gain a 9-5 advantage after a layup by Chad Jackson. However, the lead dwindled as KWC began to find its offensive range when Brandon Johnson made a layup to tie the game at 9-9 off of a rebound from Marseilles Stewart. Stewart notched seven rebounds for the Panthers—all defensive. Johnson was one of three Panthers to hit double figures, ending the game with 13 points.
At the break, KWC led NKU, 36-35. NKU is now 0-3 when trailing at halftime.
"When you don't cut hard and play with enough energy, you're not going to get good shots against good teams," Van Hoose said.
With Panthers leading scorer Cardell McFarland sidelined with a foot injury, Anthony Young dominated the stat sheet. Young finished the game with 29 points, four rebounds, two steals and one block.
The Norse weren't able to rally in the second half, shooting only 27.6 percent from the field, 55.6 percent from the free-throw line and 8.3 percent from three-point range.
"They were able to take away some of the open looks I was getting," Van Hoose said.
NKU is now 15-3 overall and 7-3 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. On Saturday, the Norse will travel to Evansville, IN to take on the University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles. Tip off is 4 p.m.
Monica Fritsch is a correspondent for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.