Huskies best Broncos in balanced performance


Mingda Wu

NIU senior guard Kaleb Thornton (3) jukes past Ball State senior guard Demarius Jacobs (1) on Jan. 30. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

By Ethan Gonzales, Sports Editor

A complete game from the Huskies on both sides of the ball helped NIU defeat Western Michigan University in a road conference victory.

While NIU only compiled three double-digit scoring efforts from its starters, role players contributed to the Huskies’ total collectively. The Huskies’ bench outscored the Broncos’ bench 19 to two, a huge factor in the victory, according to NIU head coach Rashon Burno.

“The energy and the focus led to us getting 19 points off the bench,” Burno said. “That was monumental in the win tonight.”

Senior guard Darweshi Hunter scored nine points while sophomore forward Oluwasegun Durosinmi recorded six points and three rebounds, both players coming off the bench. Hunter said that any contribution from any player is welcomed.

“That’s what we need more of, the team effort,” Hunter said. “Everybody can eat. Everybody does their part, we get some wins.”

Senior guard Kaleb Thornton led the Huskies in scoring with 15 on an efficient 5-for-8 shooting from the field. Thornton also led the team in assists with five, stats that Thornton tries to emulate every night.

“(I’m) just making sure that I’m picking my spots,” Thornton said. “I’m trying not to put my team in harm’s way by taking bad shots. It’s always efficiency first. I like to pass (too), so I can’t get any assists unless these guys are scoring.”

Sophomore guard David Coit had a slow shooting night, scoring 13 points on 5-15 shooting. Coit’s impact was surprisingly felt more on the boards, as he recorded a career-high eight rebounds. Coit, who is 5-foot-11, is the shortest player on the team.

“Eight rebounds for a guy who can’t even touch the backboard,” Burno said with a laugh.

Sophomore guard Zarique Nutter also scored 13 points in the winning effort.


The Huskies started the game hot, getting scoring contributions from all five starters. Nutter led all scorers with eight points, but shot just 4-for-12 from the field in the first half.

NIU tallied four steals and forced eight total Bronco turnovers in the first half. The Huskies also held the Broncos to 29% shooting in the first half, recording four blocks to deter Western Michigan at the rim.

Thornton caught fire to begin the second half, hitting two threes after short runs from Western Michigan. His second three of the half gave him three on the game.

Personal fouls hindered Western Michigan in the second half. The Broncos were over the penalty limit with 11 minutes left to play, sending the Huskies to the free throw line with every foul committed during the rest of the game. The Huskies capitalized, hitting 12 of their 17 free throws.

NIU shut the game down towards the end of the second half after going on a 10-0 run with 7:49 left to play in the game. The run extended the Huskies’ largest lead of the game to 22.


NIU moves to 9-13 overall, matching the win total of the 2021-22 season with nine games remaining in the season. The Huskies also improved to 5-4 in Mid-American Conference play and jumped up to fifth in MAC standings.


Next up, NIU will face Bowling Green State University at 5 p.m. Saturday in Bowling Green, Ohio. The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and broadcasted on The Varsity Network. Live stats will be available via Sidearm Stats.