HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- Playing with a short bench, Kennesaw State turned in a strong second-half effort but was unable to overcome a 14-point deficit and fell 64-53 to Northern Kentucky in an Atlantic Sun Conference game Saturday at the Bank of Kentucky Arena in Highland Heights, Ky.
The Owls (2-19, 1-8) were led by senior forward Aaron Anderson, who scored 14 points and collected 10 rebounds to record his third straight double-double and eighth of the season.
Senior guard Eshaunte Jones scored 25 points to lead a trio of NKU (6-11, 4-5) players in double figures. Freshman guard Tyler White contributed 13 points, junior guard Chad Jackson added 10 points and eight rebounds, and senior forward Ernest Watson totaled four points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Norse.
After leading 31-20 at halftime, Northern Kentucky increased its lead to 35-20 on a three-pointer by Jones 12 seconds into the second half. Kennesaw State then responded with a 9-0 run to slice the deficit to 34-29 following a three-point play by Anderson with 16:03 to play.
The Owls continued to chip away at the Norse lead and eventually got within three points at 44-41 when Anderson made one of two free throws with 6:05 remaining.
However, the lack of depth by Kennesaw State, which had just eight players in uniform, eventually became a factor when Anderson picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench with 4:56 remaining and the Owls trailing, 46-41.
With Anderson on the sideline as Kennesaw State's main inside scoring option and top rebounder, Northern Kentucky was able to maintain its lead and eventually increase it to 51-44 with 2:53 to play.
Kennesaw State concludes its three-game road trip when it travels down to Macon, Ga., to take on A-Sun rival Mercer at Hawkins Arena on Friday beginning at 7 p.m.
Kennesaw State University