Huskies drop overtime thriller to Miami


Mingda Wu

NIU redshirt senior guard Anthony Crump (50) drives against Ball State redshirt sophomore forward Mickey Pearson Jr. (3) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game at the Convocation Center in DeKalb. (Mingda Wu | Northern Star)

DeKALB – Miami University of Ohio pulled off a miraculous comeback to stun the Huskies 66-65 in overtime Saturday. 

Despite not trailing during regulation, and leading by as many as 20 points, NIU was unable to hold on for the win. Led by senior forward Anderson Mirambeaux, Miami earned its third conference victory of the season.

“I thought we got out of character. We didn’t play our style of play in regards to composure and playing for each other,” NIU men’s basketball coach Rashon Burno said. 

The Huskies struggled with Miami’s zone defense in the second half, as they were held scoreless over the final six minutes of the half. During that stretch, the RedHawks mounted a 14-0 run capped off by a three-pointer from Mirambeaux to tie the game at 58 with five seconds remaining. 

“There’s not an excuse. We weren’t putting the ball in the hole,” redshirt senior forward Anthony Crump said. “We started doing things that we don’t usually do, we got kind of selfish, we kind of thought we had the game. It just shows how immature we are at times, we weren’t doing what was working for us.”

NIU sophomore guard David Coit missed Saturday’s game due to a hamstring injury he suffered Tuesday against Ball State University. Senior guard Kaleb Thornton returned to the lineup for NIU after missing Tuesday’s contest.

“This was a really tough game, especially when you lose David Coit,” Burno said. “He’s a guy that can stretch the defense and make open shots for us to give us some breathing room.”


After 20 minutes, the Huskies led 32-22. NIU never trailed in the first half, with its lead growing as large as 13 points. Forcing turnovers and getting out in transition were key in building the first half lead. NIU forced nine Miami turnovers in the first half, scoring 14 points off of those turnovers. Crump had three steals and Thornton snatched two steals. 

“It (forcing turnovers and getting out in transition) was a focus,” Crump said. “Playing defense, getting a lot of deflections and taking away the three-point line. We were focusing on getting out and running once we got stops. Once we get the rebound, we push it and like to play out in transition and have fun.”

The Huskies came out strong, taking an early 15-2 advantage, highlighted by an and-one dunk from Crump and a behind-the-back pass from Thornton to sophomore guard Zarique Nutter for a layup. NIU held the RedHawks to 36% shooting from the field in the first half. 

“When you’re down a kid like David Coit, who can give you 18 (points) a night, you have to get out in transition and get easy baskets,” Burno said. “We didn’t do that in the second half, tale of two halves … We have to get better, but I’m not overly concerned because I think these guys know we left an unbelievable opportunity on the table.” 

Crump led the way for NIU in the first half, scoring 13 points on a hyper-efficient 6-for-7 shooting to go along with his three steals. Nutter scored 9 first half points on 4-for-6 shooting. 


The Huskies built on its 10-point halftime lead, taking a 20-point lead with 9:22 remaining. After taking the big lead, the Huskies struggled to put up points, scoring just four points for the rest of regulation.

Freshman guard Ryan Mabrey powered the RedHawks’ run, scoring nine points on 3-for-4 from three-point range over the final eight minutes. Mirambeaux added 14 of his 18 points in the second half.

“We didn’t deserve to win in regulation based on how we played,” Burno said. “This is still a young team, and they have to understand what we have to do to win and how you close out teams.”

The RedHawks forced 11 Huskie turnovers in the second half, resulting in 17 points for Miami.

“They went zone, and we didn’t make shots to get them out of the zone,” Burno said. “That gave life to those guys to stay into their zone … We didn’t do a good job of executing.” 

Miscommunication on defense resulted in Mirambeaux getting open for the game-tying three. 

“Towards the end of the game we kind of stopped talking to each other on defense,” Crump said. “We weren’t getting any stops and that’s just what happens when you’re not communicating and together at the end. He (Mirambeaux) got off a good one.”

Mirambeuax continued his strong play into overtime, scoring six of the RedHawks eight points in the period. NIU senior guard Darweshi Hunter connected on a three with 15 seconds left to cut Miami’s lead to one, but had two shots narrowly miss in the final 7 seconds, sealing the comeback for Miami. 


NIU now sits at 11-15 overall, and 7-7 in Mid-American Conference play. The Huskies are now in sixth place in the MAC standings with four games left in the regular season. NIU will face off against Ohio University on Tuesday, trailing the Bobcats by one game in the standings.

“There’s lessons learned in this game, whether they’re good or bad, there’s something you can take from this game,” Burno said. “This will be an opportunity we can learn from that will help us potentially Tuesday and Saturday. I’m not too concerned, we’ll be ready to play on Tuesday.”

NIU will face off against Ohio at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Athens. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and will be available to listen to via The Varsity Network.