Huskies defeated in first match of Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off


Courtesy of NIU Athletics

Junior guard Kaleb Thornton searches for a passing lane during Wednesday’s matchup against the Toledo Rockets. Thornton was NIU’s second-best scorer in the contest with 18 points as the Huskies lost 100-72 to their Mid-American Conference Rivals in DeKalb.

By Michael Stoll, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – Shooting woes plagued the Huskies as they fell to 1-3 on their early season, losing 68-50 against the undefeated Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets in the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off.

Sophomore guard Zarique Nutter put together a solid game for the Huskies, finishing with 18 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Sophomore guard David Coit was the only other Huskie to put up double digits with his 10 points and two three-pointers.

Right out the gate NIU struggled to put together offensive possessions. Three early turnovers and misses as a team had them fall to an immediate 7-0 deficit. Nutter scored the Huskies’ first points three minutes and thirty seconds into the bout.

“We have just been dreadful on offense for the first four games now,” NIU head coach Rashon Burno said. “We’ve got to get our rhythm there.”

By the end of the first half, the Huskies were looking at a 23-point deficit. Quickly following the halftime break, the Huskies came out swinging with a 17-1 run, and a Coit pull-up three cut the Yellow Jacket’s lead to 44-37.

Following Coit’s basket,  a nearly 3-minute scoring drought from both teams ensued. NIU had a chance to cut further into the deficit, but couldn’t get the lid off the basket and ultimately lost footing for the rest of the game after the lead ballooned back to double digits.

“That was the game,” Burno said when asked about the Yellow Jackets’ first half run compared to the Huskies’ early second half run. “The run that they made and the run that we didn’t make… You’ve got to put them on their heels or even at best make it an even game. You can’t spot someone 23 points and expect to come back and win.”

Georgia Tech completed the wire-to-wire victory with a balanced attack from their starters and bench. Senior forward Ja’von Franklin led the Yellow Jackets with 14 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore guard Miles Kelly added 13 points.

NIU finished below 27% from the field and under 21% from three as a team, including sub-43% from the freethrow line.

NIU will attempt to get back in the win column when they face off with Sam Houston State University at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Florida. This will be NIU’s second game of the Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off. The game will be streamed on Florida Southwestern State’s live broadcast. Live stats can be accessed via StatBroadcast.