N. Kentucky edges Cleveland St. for NCAA berth with win over Horizon

INDIANAPOLIS – Marquez Warrick scored 18 points and Sam Vinson added 16 to lead Northern Kentucky to a 63-61 win over Cleveland State and the Horizon League championship on Tuesday.

Scandinavian (22-12), which lost by one point to Wright State in last year’s title game, has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time since 2017.

Warrick made four consecutive free throws in the final half-minute to give the Scandinavians a seven-point lead. The Vikings (21-13) scored twice in the final 10 seconds, but the 3-pointer was 0.2 left.

Trey Robinson added 12 points for the Norsemen, who outscored the Vikings 21-7 and had 14 steals. They sank 16 of 18 at the line, going 10 to 5 for Cleveland State.

Tristan Enaruna scored 17 points and Deshaun Parker scored 14 points for Cleveland State. Deante Johnson had 10 rebounds.

There were 14 ties and 12 ties in a game in which neither team led by double figures.

The Scandinavians, who led by seven points midway through the second half, scored over six minutes before going ahead by two with four minutes remaining. They then scored back-to-back baskets a minute apart, the second on Vinson’s jumper after a Ramar Pryor layup by Brandon.

The Vikings made two threes before Warrick’s free throws.

Vinson and Warwick combined for 10 points in the first half to give NKU a 33-30 lead.

Four-seed NKU and three-seed Cleveland State finished in a three-way tie with Milwaukee for second place behind Youngstown State. Norse knocked off Youngstown State and Cleveland State defeated No. 2 Milwaukee in Monday’s semifinals. The finalists split their regular season series, each winning by one point at home.

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