Huskies defeat Western Michigan in blowout


Alyssa Queen

The Huskies take to the court for the second half of their game against Western Michigan on Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center. NIU beat the Western Michigan Broncos 81-53. (Alyssa Queen | Northern Star)

By Jermel Williams, Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU men’s basketball (11-14, 7-5 MAC) defeated Western Michigan University (6-18, 2-9 MAC) Saturday in a convincing fashion, winning 81-53.

The game started slow for the Huskies, falling down 15-6 within the first couple of minutes of play, but after the slow start, the Huskies turned their play around, maintaining the lead for 70% of the game. 

The reason for such a dominant first-half performance was the efficiency on the offensive end and the lockdown defense by the Huskies. NIU shot 56% from the field while also shooting 50% from behind the arch and kept the Broncos below 35% from the field and an abysmal 20% from three. The score at the end of the first half was Huskies 35 Broncos 27.

NIU led for the entirety of the second half with their largest lead being 29 points. Western Michigan’s struggles from the field continued in the second half, as they shot 33% from the field and 18% from three. In total, Western Michigan only made nine shots in the second half. The Huskies outscored them 46-26.

Saturday’s game was an all-around dominating performance for NIU, as they led in every statistical category except for free throw attempts and free throw percentage. 

“We understand for teams to make it hard for us you have to try and bully us,” NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno said. “You have to outwork us around the basket. Anthony Crump had eight rebounds at halftime so I’m excited about that. The one thing about us is if we can continue to control the backboard and limit turnovers we’ll be a really good team.”  

The leading man for NIU was sophomore guard Zarique Nutter, who had 18 points and three steals. Two Huskie players recorded double-doubles in Saturday’s victory. Senior guard Kaleb Thornton had 10 points to go along with 11 assists and senior forward Anthony Crump recorded 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. 

The Huskies will continue their Mid-American Conference play at 6 p.m. Tuesday where they will compete against Ball State University at the Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana. Listen to Tuesday’s coverage on TheVarsityNetwork.