HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Kenny Carpenter scored a career-high 18 points and Demonte Flannigan added 13 points as Cleveland State earned its first Horizon League win of the season with a 70-65 win at Northern Kentucky on Saturday night at BB&T Arena.
CSU improved to 6-13 overall (1-5 HL), while the Norse fell to 5-11 overall and 1-4 in the League.
Carpenter, whose old career high was 17 points, hit 7-of-11 from the floor, including four of his five three-point attempts, while adding five rebounds and three assists. Flannigan added seven rebounds, while Andre Yates finished with 10 points and four assists.
Tyler White led the Norse with 17 points.
"I'm happy for those kids in the locker room," head coach Gary Waters said. "They worked their tails off out there tonight and it was good to see them get rewarded. We out-rebounded them and had 16 assists which shows we were moving the ball around."
Yates scored the first basket of the game, but NKU answered with the next 12 to take a 10-point lead (12-2) less than five minutes into the game. The Norse lead would reach as many as 12 points (25-13) with 8:37 left in the half, but CSU closed the first half on a 16-2 run, capped on a Carpenter three-pointer just before the final buzzer.
The Vikings held the Norse scoreless over the final 6:27 of the half as the Norse made just one of its final 11 shots from the field to end the half.
The teams combined to hit 13 of their first 15 shots to start the second half with the Norse using five three-pointers to help open up a 50-42 lead seven minutes in. But CSU came right back, using a 20-5 run to take a 62-55 lead with five minutes left on a Flannigan jumper.
After a defensive stop, a driving Carpenter found Nelson Maxwell in the corner and the freshman buried his first collegiate three-pointer to push the lead to 10 points (65-55) with just over three minutes left.
The Norse used a pair of three-pointers around a Carpenter layup and a dunk from Lavone Holland to close the deficit to four points (67-63) with 37 seconds left, but Yates sank a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left and the Viking defense held as CSU earned its first league win of the year.
CSU hit 9-of-16 from three-point, while the Norse made 10-of-26 from long range. The Vikings held a slim 37-36 advantage on the glass and scored 18 points off 12 NKU turnovers.
CSU has a quick turnaround as the Vikings return home to host UIC on Monday (Jan. 18) night at 7:00 pm in the Wolstein Center. The Vikings are then off until Sunday (Jan. 24) when CSU hosts Youngstown State at 1:00 pm in Quicken Loans Arena.