HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky.---The Chattanooga Mocs (4-7) lost 87-71 at Northern Kentucky (2-8) Sunday afternoon despite a career-high 29 points from junior forward Martynas Bareika (Kedainiai, Lithuania). Bareika’ 3pt shooting kept the Mocs in it early.
NKU used a 25-7 run to open the second half to take control of the game. Dean Danos capped the run with a three at 13:36 to extend the lead to 67-45. Ronrico White (Knoxville, Tenn.) ended the spurt with two free throws just 24 seconds later.
The Norse led the rest of the way. The Mocs got within 13 late on two Bareika free throws, but that is as close as it would get.
"They just stirred our defense up and drove us at-will to the basket,” Head Coach Will Wade said. “They did a good job of driving us. They were quicker than us and really took us off the bounce. They spread us out, drove us and shot a high percentage against us.
“Pretty much the same game plan as Morehead State had against us,” he added. “We tried to play some zone, and we got a couple of stops in the zone, but we couldn’t rebound the ball out of the zone.
“I think 71 points should be enough to win a lot of games, but we just couldn’t get stops.”
Bareika’s 24 led all scorers. He also set new career highs in field goals made (7), attempted (14), free throw made (12) and attempted (13). Casey Jones (New Orleans, La.) added 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Jordan Jackson’s 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals led NKU. He led six double-figure scorers joined by Jalen Billups and Anthony Monaco with 12 apiece, and Danos, Tyler White and Jake Giesler with 10 each.
Chattanooga got off to a fast start leading by as many as 10 in the opening minutes. Alex Bran’s (Memphis, Tenn.) four-point play at 15:52 gave his squad a 14-4 advantage.
The Norse stormed back with a 12-0 run taking its first lead on a four-point play of its own by Cole Murray. That made it 16-14 with 12:40 to go until the break. NKU led by as many as eight in the opening frame before settling for a 41-38 halftime margin.
The Mocs played without leading scorer and rebounder Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.). Mason, who is among the Southern Conference leaders averaging 18.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, missed today’s contest with a foot injury.
NKU shot 66.7 percent (32-48) from the field, 58.3 percent (7-12) from 3pt range. It shot 70.6 percent (17-24) in the second half. The Norse won the battle of the boards 33-22 and got 43 of its 87 from their bench.
Chattanooga finishes the pre-holiday portion of the schedule on the road Wednesday at UAB. Game time is 8 p.m. (ET) and can be listened to live on ESPN 105.1 FM the Zone in Chattanooga, or go to the men’s basketball schedule page on GoMocs.com for links to audio (free) and live stats. You can follow @GoMocsMBB on twitter for live updates as well.
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