Ice-cold shooting hurts Huskies in loss to Ohio


Ross Achter/Toledo Athletics

Senior guard Anthony Crump attempts a layup during Saturday’s loss to the University of Toledo.

By Zachary Bertram, Senior Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU fell to Ohio University 77-68 Tuesday thanks to a poor 1-for-19 three-point shooting night, as the Bobcats extended their win streak to six.

The Huskies were once again without sophomore guard David Coit, who missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury. Despite being short handed, it was a tight contest throughout, featuring 12 lead changes and nine ties. 

The loss of Coit proved costly for the Huskies. Coit has made 75 three-pointers on the year on an excellent 38% clip. The Bobcats outscored the Huskies by 24 points from the three-point range, knocking down nine of their 28 attempts.

“If Diggy (David) Coit’s here, it’s a lot different,” NIU men’s basketball coach Rashon Burno said. “We just have to get our guys’ confidence to step in and make shots.” 

Burno felt that the Huskies’ lack of three-pointers played a big part in their loss. 

“We didn’t have a three-pointer until late,” Burno said. “You can’t go on the road and shoot one of 19 from three.”

Graduate student forward Dwight Wilson III had a strong performance for the Bobcats, posting 24 points and snagging 10 rebounds. Wilson was efficient with his touches, shooting 58% for the game. 

Redshirt senior forward Anthony Crump continued his strong play with a double-double. Crump finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He was aggressive in the paint, getting to the free-throw line 14 times. 

“I’m trying to be more aggressive because those guys (Coit and junior guard Keshawn Williams) score a lot of points for us,” Crump said. “Everybody’s trying to play their part in making up the points.”


The Huskies and Bobcats were all knotted up 37-37 at halftime. NIU got a majority of its points from close-range, scoring 30 of their 37 first half points in the paint and outscoring Ohio 30-12 in close. Senior guard Darweshi Hunter and junior forward Harvin Ibarguen led the Huskies in scoring at the break with eight points each. 

“We weren’t hitting threes, but we had a lot of points in the paint,” Hunter said. “Our defense kept us in the game.”

Ohio did a lot of its damage from the outside. The Bobcats hit seven of their 15 three-point attempts in the first half, while NIU went 0-for-7 from behind the arc. Wilson III had a strong first half for the Bobcats, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven rebounds. 

The Bobcats came out of the gates firing, knocking down four of their first six three-point attempts, helping Ohio build an early 10-point lead in the first 11 minutes. 

Despite the early lead from Ohio, the Huskies responded quickly. NIU went on a 19-6 run over the final nine minutes of the half, to take a 37-34 lead with less than a minute before halftime. 

“We just had to calm ourselves down, it was a pretty good crowd tonight,” Crump said. “We were playing pretty tight. They got up by 10 and we called a timeout for everybody to re-gather themselves. We started playing harder and looser, that’s what I like about the team. We didn’t give in, we fought back, and took the lead.” 


The second half was a back-and-forth affair, which included seven ties and six lead changes. Hunter scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the second half. 

Wilson III continued his strong play into the second half, scoring 14 points. The Bobcats ended the game on a 13-5 run over the last four and a half minutes. 

Hunter felt that offensive miscues down the stretch were a big reason why the game slipped away from the Huskies late. 

“A couple calls didn’t go our way, a couple missed free throws,” Hunter said. “We didn’t get good offensive possessions. I remember a charge call we got when we were down three, and then they went down and scored two to put them up five.” 

The Huskies’ lack of depth due to injury hurt them at the worst time, as NIU had zero bench points in the second half. 

“Guys have to step up, that’s it,” Burno said. “My job and the coaching staff’s job is to give them a game plan that can keep it close. Then players make plays, so we have to get better there. But I’m proud of these guys who were under manned on the road against one of the hottest teams in MAC play – six (wins) in a row.” 

After a layup from Hunter to put the Huskies up three, Ohio senior guard Miles Brown answered with an and-one jumper to tie the score at 59. The Huskies would not regain the lead again after the shot from Brown. 

Burno did not agree with the call.

“The score isn’t a good indicator of how close the game was,” Burno said. “On the road, bang-bang calls, a phantom and-one that is mind boggling. Certain things didn’t go our way when the game was close, that really gave them some momentum. I thought that and-one was a game-changer for them.” 


NIU is now 11-17 overall with a 7-8 record in Mid-American Conference play. The Huskies now find themselves seventh in the MAC with three regular season games remaining. 

NIU will face off against Central Michigan at 1 p.m. Saturday in Mount Pleasant. The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and will be available to listen to via The Varsity Network. 

“Make some more threes and hit our free throws,” Hunter said. “We do those two things, we should win Saturday.”