Gagai gives NKU division title

Published 2:07 am Tuesday, March 3, 2009

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Dennis Gagai may never be part of a S.W.A.T. unit, but he is starting to build a resume as a rescue worker.

While the Lewis University defense geared to stopping the scoring of DeAaron Williams and Dustin Maguire, Gagai came off the bench to ignite the offense with 25 points and lead the Norse to a 71-54 win on Saturday and clinch the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division championship.

Maguire is the team’s leading scorer at 15.2 points a game, but he managed only two against Lewis.

Email newsletter signup

Enter Gagai to the rescue.

Gagai was 10-of-13 from the field including 5-of-7 from 3-point range. He scored 16 of his points in the first half as the Norse took a 36-19 lead.

The GLVC Freshman of the Year last season, Gagai was averaging 6.5 points a game as the top player off the NKU bench.

“Dustin told me at halftime that he was going to get me open,” said Gagai. “Everyone was setting picks for me and one of us was going to be open. They couldn’t deny two players the ball.”

Lewis got within 57-49 with 5:31 to play, but NKU went on a 14-5 run as Gagai drained three trifectas to put the game out of reach.

Gagai has made 32 shots from behind the arc this season.

Winning its third straight division titie, NKU will play Saint Joseph’s at noon on Friday. If the Norse win, they play in the semifinal game at 5:15 on Saturday. The championship game is 2 p.m. on Sunday.