Huskies top Eagles behind efficient guard play

Huskies return to .500 in MAC play


Northern Star File Photo

Men’s basketball junior guard Kaleb Thornton looks on as Eastern Michigan freshman forward Colin Golson, Jr. makes an attempt at the net during a game in DeKalb on Jan. 15. (Northern Star File Photo)

Hot shooting nights from sophomore guards David Coit and Zarique Nutter propelled the NIU men’s basketball team to a dominant 88-67 victory over Eastern Michigan University. The Huskies extended their win streak to two games after Saturday’s win.

Coit finished the game with 24 points on 75% shooting. Coit was on fire from three-point range, hitting five of his nine threes. The Huskies drained 10 three-pointers as a team in the win.

“I’m happy with his (Coit’s) efficiency,” NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno said. “There’s no kid who puts in more time and dedication into his craft. He takes care of his body, he’s in the gym. His energy, his focus, and his shot making ability is going to help us down the stretch.”

Nutter contributed 19 points to NIU’s total on 6-for-11 shooting from the field.

“I just tell myself that I’m one of them,” Nutter said. “I got to just go out there and think, ‘nobody can stop me’.”

Four Huskie players scored in double digits on Saturday. The team shot 59.3% from the field, marking the Huskies’ third-best shooting performance of the year. Thirteen total assists for NIU sparked the hot shooting for the Huskies.

“We know we’re capable,” Coit said. “I think we’ve matured as a team. We’re beginning to know our roles, we’ve been more patient with things. We need guys to step up every game because I’m not going to score 24, 25, every night. Whoever it is, whatever it is that we need to do to get a win, we’re gonna do it.”

On the defensive side of the ball, NIU held the Eagles to 43% shooting from the field. The Huskies forced 15 Eagle turnovers in the victory. Nine of those turnovers were attributed to steals by NIU. Senior guard Kaleb Thornton led the Huskies with four steals.

The Huskies started the game hot, shooting 72% from the field in the first half. Coit knocked down three three-pointers in the first half to contribute half of NIU’s six total three-point makes. Coit dished out five assists as well.

An 11-point first half from Nutter propelled the Huskies to a 19-point lead to finish the first half. The Huskies recorded 10 assists as a team in the first half.

NIU never lost the lead in the second half and outscored the Eagles in the paint 40-24.

Eastern Michigan’s top scorer per game, sophomore forward Emoni Bates, scored seven7 points in 17 minutes of action before leaving the game with a head injury. Bates shot 2-for-9 from the field.

EMU sophomore guard Noah Farrakhan scored 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting and added eight rebounds in the loss.

The Huskies will face Kent State University next, the No. 1 seed in the Mid-American Conference. The Golden Flashes are currently undefeated in the MAC at 6-0 and boast an overall record of 16-3.

The game will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the NIU Convocation Center. The game will be streamed via ESPN3/+ and live stats will be available via Sidearm Stats.