RICHMOND, Ky. – Nick Mayo’s jumper with 0.4 seconds left in the game gave Eastern Kentucky University a 76-74 win over visiting Northern Kentucky University on Saturday at McBrayer Arena.
Drew McDonald put the Norse (8-3) in front by two on tip-in with 1:01 left in the game. Mayo went to the free throw line with 46 seconds remaining and tied the game for the 14th time, 74-74. A deflection put Northern in the situation of having to inbound the ball with two seconds left on the shot clock, and 17.5 seconds left in the game.
A long three-pointer missed and Jomaru Brown secured the rebound for the Colonels (6-4). Kelvin Robinson handed the ball off to Mayo on the right wing. The senior took three dribbles toward the basket and put up a fade-away jumper over the out-stretched hand of McDonald that swished through the bucket.
It was the eighth lead change of a game that neither team led by more than six points.
The Norse threatened to take control when they scored eight unanswered early in the second half to take their largest lead of the game at six points, 37-31. Eastern answered with a 16-5 fueled by three 3-pointers from Brown. A block by Mayo and lay-up from Brown, his 11th points of the spurt, finished it off and put the Colonels in front by five, 47-42.
After Northern Kentucky battled back and went in front by four, 63-59, on a triple from Zaynah Robinson with 5:54 to go, the EKU defense pitched a shutout for the next two minutes. The 9-0 run gave the Colonels their sixth 5-point advantage of the game, their biggest of the night. Seven of the nine came at the free throw line, including the final two by Kelvin Robinson for a 68-63 advantage.
Tyler Sharp’s three-pointer ended the run. Robinson tied it, 70-70, on a jumper with 2:30 to go. After Mayo hit two free throws on the other end, McDonald scored the next four to put NKU ahead 74-72.
Mayo finished with a game-best 27 points and 11 rebounds. He has 1,826 points and needs seven more to break Matt Witt’s program record of 1,832. It was Mayo’s 13th career double-double. The Oakland, Maine native was 5-for-10 from the field and 17-of-20 at the free throw line.
Brown scored 16 off the bench for Eastern Kentucky. McDonald had a team-best 23 for Northern.
EKU is now 4-0 this season in games decided by three points or less.
After missing on all 12 attempts from three-point range in the first half, Eastern knocked down 5-of-8 in the second. The Colonels shot 50 percent from the field in the second half.
The Colonels will have a week off of game action during finals. EKU will be back in action on at Xavier next Saturday. The game is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.