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The Division I dream begins in San Diego Nov. 14 | Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University officially joins big-time college basketball next Wednesday night (Nov. 14) by opening the season at the University of San Diego.

The game is scheduled for 10 p.m. (EST) and is part of the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation Challenge, a tournament in which NKU will play four games in five days. The live broadcast of the NKU/San Diego game can be heard on WQRT (1160 AM), with Richard Skinner calling the play-by-play and Steve Moeller providing the color commentary.

NKU posted a 23-7 record last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in its final year in that classification. The Norse are now members of the Atlantic Sun Conference and were picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll.

San Diego finished with a 13-18 overall record last season. The Toreros are picked to finish fifth in the West Coast Conference preseason poll. Gonzaga is the WCC favorite.

SEASON OPENERS: NKU is 33-8 all-time in season openers. From 1982 until 2008, the Norse won 27 consecutive season-opening games. Grand Valley State stopped that streak in the 2009 opener.

NKU AGAINST D-1 OPPONENTS: Going into the 2012-13 campaign, Northern Kentucky is 6-24 all-time against NCAA Division I opponents in regular-season games. The six wins were against Xavier (1978 and 1979), Eastern Kentucky (1982 and 1983), Evansville (1983) and Tennessee State (1984). NKU has not met a Division I opponent in a regular-season game since Dec. 10, 2005, when the Norse dropped a 65-46 decision against Brigham Young in Provo, Utah.

NKU’S LAST WIN AGAINST A D-1 IN THE REGULAR SEASON: On Jan. 14, 1984, NKU pulled out a 66-64 victory over Tennessee State in Regents Hall. That also marked the final time a Division I men’s team visited Regents Hall.

EVEN IF IT DID NOT COUNT: On Nov. 4, 2011, NKU stunned Big East power West Virginia, 77-74, in an exhibition game at Morgantown, W.Va. Eshaunte Jones buried a 25-footer with 1.1 seconds remaining to give NKU the win.

Prior to that win, NKU was 0-18 against Division I opponents in exhibition games since 2001.

ON THE WEST COAST: This will mark NKU’s first trip to the west coast since the 1995-96 season, when the Norse played Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Los Angeles. NKU also visited Hawaii in 1990 for three games. NKU played in a three-game tournament at Chico State in 1988.

NORSE SENIORITY: NKU welcomes back a trio of talented seniors in point guard Ethan Faulkner, shooting guard Eshaunte Jones and forward Stretch Watson. Faulkner averaged 10 points per game last season and led NKU with 130 assists to earn All-Great Lakes Valley Conference second-team honors. He also scored a career-high 24 points against Findlay in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Jones, who made a habit of hitting clutch shots in late-game situations, averaged 10.7 points per game. He also drained a total of 69 shots from 3-point range and made 44.2 percent of his attempts from behind the arc. Watson averaged 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He also shot 50 percent from the field.

TREY-RIFFIC: NKU finished No. 2 nationally in last season’s NCAA Division II team statistics in 3-point shooting at 42.5 percent. The Norse were 13th nationally in 3-pointers made per game at 9.0.

BIG LOSS IN THE LANE: NKU must replace center DeAndre Nealy, who finished No. 9 nationally in blocked shots per game (2.83 bpg) last season. Nealy set an NKU single-season record with 85 blocks.

ROAD WARRIORS: NKU will not play a home game until Jan. 5, when the Norse entertain South Carolina Upstate in The Bank of Kentucky Center. NKU plays its first 10 games away from home, including stops in the states of California, Texas, Virginia and Maryland. The Norse also visit No. 4 Ohio State on Dec. 1.

TOREROS KNOWN IN THE BLUEGRASS: In 2007, San Diego pulled off an 81-72 upset over Kentucky in Rupp Arena. San Diego later earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament and knocked off Connecticut.

UP NEXT: NKU meets Tulsa on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. It will mark the first meeting between the Norse and the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa is coached by former NBA standout Danny Manning, who led Kansas to the 1988 NCAA national championship.

DIVISION I LOWDOWN
Going into the 2012-13 campaign, Northern Kentucky is 6-24 all-time against NCAA Division I opponents in regular-season games.* The six wins were against Xavier (1978 and 1979), Eastern Kentucky (1982 and 1983), Evansville (1983) and Tennessee State (1984). NKU has not met a Division I opponent in a regular-season game since Dec. 10, 2005, when the Norse dropped a 65-46 decision at Brigham Young.

*This counts only schools that were fully Division I at the time of the game as many reclassified after playing Northern Kentucky during the early years of the program. Several schools were also in transition from the small-college ranks to NCAA Division I membership during the 1970s when competing against Northern Kentucky (example: Tennessee State declared for Division I status prior to the 1977-78 academic year, but the Tigers did not play enough Division I opponents to qualify as a full-fledged member that season).

vs. Brigham Young (0-1)
12/10/05 – Brigham Young 65, Northern Kentucky 46 at Provo, Utah

vs. Cincinnati (0-7)
11/30/81 – Cincinnati 56, Northern Kentucky 42 at Cincinnati, Ohio
1/31/84 – Cincinnati 60, Northern Kentucky 58 at Cincinnati, Ohio
12/1/84 – Cincinnati 56, Northern Kentucky 52 at Cincinnati, Ohio
12/6/85 – Cincinnati 75, Northern Kentucky 56 at Cincinnati, Ohio
11/29/86 – Cincinnati  70, Northern Kentucky 64 at Cincinnati, Ohio
11/29/87 – Cincinnati 76, Northern Kentucky 65 at Cincinnati, Ohio
11/27/88 – Cincinnati 75, Northern Kentucky 63 at Cincinnati, Ohio

vs. Dayton (0-1)
12/1/93 – Dayton 99, Northern Kentucky 82 at Dayton, Ohio

vs. Eastern Kentucky (2-5)
11/26/77 – Eastern Kentucky 80, Northern Kentucky 73 at Richmond, Ky.
11/25/78 – Eastern Kentucky 92, Northern Kentucky 80 at Richmond, Ky.
1/25/82 – Northern Kentucky 64, Eastern Kentucky 62 at Richmond, Ky.
1/4/83 – Northern Kentucky 69, Eastern Kentucky 62 at Highland Heights, Ky.
12/3/83 – Eastern Kentucky 65, Northern Kentucky 59 at Richmond, Ky.
11/25/91 – Eastern Kentucky 92, Northern Kentucky 72 at Richmond, Ky.
12/2/92 – Eastern Kentucky 81, Northern Kentucky 71 at Richmond, Ky.

vs. Evansville (1-0)
11/28/83 – Northern Kentucky 61, Evansville 59 (ot) at Evansville, Ind.

vs. Morehead State (0-5)
11/29/74 – Morehead State 93,  84 at Morehead, Ky.
2/2/77 – Morehead State 82, Northern Kentucky 74 at Morehead, Ky.
12/7/77 – Morehead State 78, Northern Kentucky 71 at Morehead, Ky.
12/6/78 – Morehead State 71, Northern Kentucky 65 at Highland Heights, Ky.
11/29/93 – Morehead State 85, Northern Kentucky 79 at Morehead, Ky.

vs. Pennsylvania (0-1)
11/30/82 – Pennsylvania 82, Northern Kentucky 69 at Philadelphia, Pa.

vs. Tennessee State (1-0)
1/14/84 – Northern Kentucky 66, Tennessee State 64 at Highland Heights, Ky.

vs. Toledo (0-1)
12/5/94 – Toledo 85, Northern Kentucky 63

vs. Xavier (2-3)
2/15/75 – Xavier 64, Northern Kentucky 60 at Cincinnati, Ohio
2/21/76 – Xavier 72, Northern Kentucky 70 (ot) at Cincinnati, Ohio
2/23/77 – Xavier 67, Northern Kentucky 65 at Cincinnati, Ohio
1/14/78 – Northern Kentucky 59, Xavier 58 at Cincinnati, Ohio
1/6/79 – Northern Kentucky 63, Xavier 61 (ot) at Cincinnati, Ohio

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