Coming off a win against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, NIU men’s basketball went on the road for the first of its four-game roadtrip.
On Friday, the Huskies (2-6) were defeated by UW-Milwaukee (3-5) in a game that took overtime to decide a victor.
UW used its 3-point attack to come out in the first half and build a lead after NIU scored the opening four points. The Panthers shot 42 percent from behind the arc in the first period, going 8-19 on their way to a 37-28 lead over NIU at the half.
Newly returned from team suspension, sophomore forward Abdel Nader believes the Huskies may have done more against the 3-point shooting.
“This team averages 27 [3-pointers] a game; they only went a little bit over,” Nader said. “I think we could of done a better job on the penetration and kick, but we did a decent job.”
The second half opened with a dunk for UW, pushing its lead up to 11. The Huskies came back behind a stalwart defensive effort that saw the Panthers unable to break from their 51-point total for nearly four minutes. The strong play from Nader and freshman guard Akeem Springs helped the Huskies take a five-point lead, 60-55, at the 8:47 mark.
Despite the Panthers’ ability to get to the free-throw line, the Huskies were able to tie the game at 68 and force overtime on junior forward Aksel Bolin’s tip in off freshman guard Travon Baker’s missed jump shot.
The Huskies then defended UW’s last shot attempt to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Panthers once again got to the line and buried the Huskies, making eight free throws. NIU was able to score just five points, losing 80-73.
“Well, they shot 40 free throws, we shot 16. It [free-throws] didn’t help,” said coach Mark Montgomery. “I like the direction our team is heading. Guys played hard, played together, fought all the way to the end.”