Chad Jackson turned in a solid performance in Deland, Fla., on Thursday night, but it wasn't enough as Stetson surged past Northern Kentucky with a big second half en route to a 71-59 victory.
Jackson had 15 points, eight rebounds, four steals and three assists for NKU (4-10, 2-4 Atlantic Sun) to lead all Norse scorers. Ethan Faulkner was the only other NKU player to finish in double figures with 12 while Eshaunte Jones added eight off the bench.
The Hatters (8-10, 5-2) extended their four game winning streak by having four players finish in double figures. Joel Naburgs and Chris Perez led all scores with 17 points while Adam Pegg and Aaron Graham each had 13.
The two teams opened the game going back and forth as Stetson jumped out to a four point lead (its biggest of the first half), but it was cut down to one immediately on a 3-pointer by Tyler White. Jones would give the Norse the lead on the next basket and they would not relinquish it for the rest of the half taking a 31-27 lead into the break.
The second half started well for the Norse as Faulkner stole the ball from Willie Green and it eventually led to a layup by John Staley to extend the lead to six. A 3-pointer by Hunter Miller and then a jumper by Naburgs cut the lead to one and the Hatters took the lead on four straight points by Perez.
Jackson would turn one his four steals into a layup to make it a 36-35 game, but the Hatters would dominate the game from that point. Stetson would go on a 26-13 run to give them a 14 point lead at 62-48 with 2:18 left in the game.
The Norse were able to get as close as eight from that point, but didn't score in the last 54 seconds of the game for a 71-59 final. The Hatters shot 57.1 percent in the second half to the Norse's 34.5 percent. NKU also turned the ball over 17 times.
The Norse will travel three and half hours south to take on Florida Gulf Coast (12-8, 4-3) in Ft. Myers, Fla. The Eagles had their nine game home-winning streak snapped with an overtime loss to Lipscomb on Thursday.