The Norse (8-12, 4-4 Atlantic Sun) shot 55 percent from the field and had all five starters score in double figures. Tyler White hit a trio of 3-pointers to finish with 10 points and Anthony Monaco also had 10.
Trailing 52-51 in the second half, Northern Kentucky surged ahead as Cole Murray hit two 3-pointers to fuel a 14-3 run, giving the Norse a 10-point lead with 8:54 to play.
The Owls couldn't pull closer than eight the rest of the way as Northern Kentucky made their last 10 free throw attempts.
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Shaka Smart lost five seniors and his best player. But behind a trio of talented underclassmen, the Longhorns could be building something special.
High school junior Zach Brown, a 7-footer from Miami, has rescinded his commitment to UConn, sources told ESPN.