The Northern Kentucky Norse had an opportunity to tie the game in the final minutes of Monday's home contest with East Tennessee State, but the Norse fell short 49-44.
After two free throws by Chad Jackson made it a 47-44 game, the Norse (3-9, 1-3 Atlantic Sun) missed a layup and then turned the ball over before ETSU (3-12, 1-1) sank two free throws to ice the game.
Eshaunte Jones came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points. Jackson scored seven of his nine in the second half including the final seven of the eight points scored by NKU in the last six minutes. The Buccaneers got 12 points from Hunter Harris and Jarvis Jones while Lester Wilson added 11.
The Norse opened the game with a slow start that found them in an early 9-1 deficit. NKU responded with a 10-3 run that brought to within one, but Todd Johnson couldn't give the Norse the lead as he missed two free throws.
That proved costly as ETSU took the momentum back and went on 14-6 to grow its lead to 26-17. Tyler White accounted for all six of NKU's point during that stretch. Jones knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a 26-20 game at halftime.
Jones got the scoring going right away for the Norse as he scored within the opening minute, but NKU wouldn't score again until a jumper by Jones nearly five minutes later. From there it would be a showdown between Jackson and Harris.
Jackson started with three straight free throws to make it 43-39, but Harris answered with two of his own. A layup by Jackson was immediately negated by two more free throws by Harris at the other end for a 47-41 score.
A free throw by Ernest Watson broke the scoring by Jackson temporarily, but he added two more free throws to bring the Norse to within three.
The Buccaneers had a chance to put away the Norse earlier as Rashawn Rembert got behind the Norse defense and looked to score on a point blank shot. However, the ball rattled out and Nate Snodgrass snatched the rebound.
The Norse would go inside to Jackson for a chance to make a layup and possibly add one on a foul, but he was stuffed inside. He was able to grab his own rebound in the middle of the pile and NKU called timeout. A poor inbound pass by NKU led to a turnover and two ETSU free throws to finish off the Norse.
The Norse will finish off their homestand with a game on Jan. 11 against Lipscomb (6-9, 1-3) with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. The Bisons are coming off a 98-61 thrashing at the hands of USC Upstate.
A full box score can be seen here.