The Northern Kentucky Norse returned home to the Bank of Kentucky Center for a Valentine's Day showdown with Florida Gulf Coast, but the Eagles left the Norse fans heartbroken as they went on to win 60-53.
The Norse (8-13, 6-7 Atlantic-Sun) were playing at home for the first time since Jan. 26 and have now lost two straight after winning their previous four. Eshaunte Jones once again led the Norse in scoring with 20 and six assists while Chad Jackson added 13 and eight rebounds.
Florida Gulf Coast (19-8, 11-3) remain atop the A-Sun thanks to 19 points and eight rebounds from Chase Fieler. Bernard Thompson also added 18 points for the Eagles who swept the Norse in the season series.
The Eagles jumped out to 8-0 lead to start the game, but nine points by Jones made it a 12-11 contest. The two teams went back and forth with the Norse holding a five point lead at one point, but couldn't hold on as Florida Gulf Coast went into the half up 24-23.
The seesaw battle continued into the second half as both teams on got as far ahead as five with the Eagles holding the lead for a majority of the final eight minutes. Ethan Faulkner made it a three point game with 43 seconds left, but the Norse couldn't take advantage of some late opportunities and the Eagles held on 60-53.
The Norse will stay home for their next contest with Stetson (11-14, 8-6) this Saturday. NKU will look to avoid a repeat of the last match-up back on Jan. 17 when the Hatters handed the Norse a 71-59 loss.