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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Huskie backcourt trio leads NIU past Appalachian State

Ryanne Sandifer
Senior guard Philmon Gebrewhit (5) shoots a free throw in NIU men’s basketball’s 2023-2024 home opener. The Huskies defeat Appalachian State University 91-78 on Saturday for their first win of the season. (Ryanne Sandifer | Northern Star)

DeKALB – An offensive explosion from NIU men’s basketball’s starting backcourt powered the Huskies to a 13-point victory over Appalachian State University on Saturday.

The Huskies’ starting guards combined for 64 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists in NIU’s 91-78 home opener win.


NIU’s backcourt trio was led by 5-foot-11 junior guard David Coit, who scored 27 points, pulled down 5 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. Coit’s huge day was also an efficient one, as he shot 8-for-16 from the field.

Junior guard Zarique Nutter scored 19 points and tallied 6 rebounds while senior guard Philmon Gebrewhit added 18 points in the win.

With 17:50 remaining in the second half, Nutter capped off a fastbreak with a huge dunk over Mountaineer junior guard Terence Harcum.

“We do this on the regular, it’s just, like, seeing it again,” Nutter said. “I’m proud of my guy (Coit), I’m proud of the team too. I’m proud of Phil. I’m proud of everybody for real, I’m just happy we got the win.”

All three guards drained at least one three-pointer and combined for a 20-of-22 shooting performance from the free throw line.


After trailing by 18 points with 15:59 remaining in the second half, Appalachian State opted to switch to a 1-3-1 zone defense to throw off the Huskie offensive onslaught.

As a result, NIU failed to score for 6 minutes and gave up 15 straight points to the Mountaineers, a run that cut the Huskies’ lead to 3 points.

Appalachian State junior forward Christopher Mantis scored 7 of his 16 total points during the Mountaineers’ run.

“I think that tripped us up at first; but at the end of the day, it’s basketball,” Coit said. “We’re gonna get it done, shots gonna fall. And really myself, I started to rush it because I was panicking. ‘I gotta get a shot, I gotta stop that run.’”

After a Gebrewhit three-pointer ended the Mountaineer run with 9:13 remaining, the Huskies began a 14-1 scoring run of their own to extend their lead back to double digits.

NIU found its offensive groove once again and didn’t look back, as it led 78-61 with 4:02 left in the game.

When asked about the key to his team’s perseverance during the Appalachian State run, NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno outlined one trait in his team.

“Just composure,” Burno said. “Like I said before, these guys were at Miami of Ohio (University), and we gave it (the lead) back up 20 with about 16 minutes left in the second half. So I think Diggy (David) Coit and those guys being in that moment, it just gave us a little bit of poise. They trusted each other.”


The NIU men’s basketball team will face the Illinois Institute of Technology next at 7 p.m. Monday at the Convocation Center. The game will be streamed on ESPN+, live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats and radio broadcast will be available via The Varsity Network.

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