The Northern Kentucky Norse completed its home schedule Saturday with a double-header against Jacksonville and both the men's and women's team came out victorious on Senior Night.
The Lady Norse (15-12, 12-6 A-Sun) started with a thrilling 76-71 overtime victory over the Dolphins thanks to a key play from a senior. Ellen Holton was able to score with seven seconds left to tie the game and send it into overtime where freshman Rianna Gayheart scored six of NKU's ten points.
Senior Tiara Hopper had a stellar night in her final performance at the Bank of Kentucky Center with 12 points and a career best 17 rebounds. Jaimie Hamlet had three points, three assists, and three rebounds while fellow senior Kelsey Simpson grabbed two rebounds. Holton finished with 16 points which was tied with freshman Christine Roush for the team high while Gayheart had 13 on the night.
The Norse finished fourth in the Atlantic Sun after being picked to finish dead last in the conference. Florida Gulf Coast took home top honors for the second year in a row after going 18-0 in the A-Sun.
The men followed with an equally thrilling game as it came down to the final seconds for the Norse (11-15, 9-9) to pull out a 66-62 victory. The rally started as Jacksoonville (14-17, 9-9) led by 13 points with 2:09 left when Todd Johnson got a rare four-point play to cut the lead to single digits.
NKU turned it up on the defensive end to force two turnovers and four Norse points including a dunk by senior Ernest Watson to make it a 58-53 game. Two more free throws from Johnson made it a three point game before Keith McDougald ended the Dolphins scoring drought with two free throws of his own. McDougald led Jacksonville in scoring with 21 points and added 13 rebounds.
Chad Jackson made it a three point game again with a layup and then Jarvis Haywood left the door open for a Norse comeback after he missed the first of his two free throws. Senior Ethan Faulkner quickly made it a one-point game with a 3-pointer and then McDougald turned the ball over to Anthony Monaco. Senior Eshaunte Jones missed a 3-point attempt for the lead, but Monaco grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Haywood.
He would go on to make two free throws and give NKU its first lead since the final minute of the first half. McDougald turned the ball over again the this time to Johnson to set up two Jackson free throws. Jones would putting the icing on the victory with two free throws for the four point victory.
Faulkner led the seniors in scoring with 12 points while Watson turned in a solid performance of eight points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Jones finished his career with a modest nine points after setting a career best on Thursday with 30. Jackson led all Norse scorers with 16 points and had eight rebounds.
The Norse finished the season tied for fourth with Jacksonville and USC Upstate. Mercer claimed the regular season title as they edged Florida Gulf Coast by one game in conference play.
The men's team has one final game as they will play in a rare mid-March non-tournament game against the San Francisco Dons on March 14. The Dons finished in the middle of the West Coast Conference going 14-15 and 7-9 in WCC play, but have won their last three.