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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Men’s basketball loses double-overtime heartbreaker to Central Michigan

Tim Dodge
Redshirt sophomore guard Zion Russell (10) yells to teammates to coordinate a pass as Toledo junior guard Dante Maddox Jr. (21) guards him. Russell finished Tuesday’s game against Central Michigan University with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

DeKALB – A career-high 23 points from junior guard Zarique Nutter was not enough for NIU men’s basketball (6-14, 0-8 MAC) to pull out its first conference victory of the season, as the Huskies fell 84-77 to the Central Michigan University Chippewas (12-9, 7-2 MAC) in double overtime Tuesday. 

Despite leading for nearly the entire first half and holding a 13 point lead in the second half, the Huskies once again collapsed down the stretch, dropping their 10th consecutive game. 

The Huskies’ struggles at the free throw line and lack of scoring options were detrimental in Tuesday’s loss. 

“When you play hard, you gotta make plays,” said NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno. “I thought we had free throws down the stretch that we could have made and didn’t.”

The Huskies had chances to seal the game at the free throw line in both regulation and in the first overtime period, but were unable to convert on either. After an and-one layup from Nutter to tie the game with under eight seconds to play in regulation, he failed to make the go-ahead free throw. 

With the score tied and under 20 seconds to play in overtime, senior forward Harvin Ibarguen went to the free throw line and missed both attempts.

63 of the Huskies’ 77 total points came from their big three of Nutter, sophomore forward Xavier Amos and junior guard David Coit. NIU got just two points from its bench. 


The Huskies jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first half, helping them dominate the first 20 minutes. NIU led for over 19 minutes in the first half and took a 36-30 lead into halftime. 

Nutter and Amos were a dynamic duo for the Huskies in the first half, combining for 27 of NIU’s 36 points.

On the defensive end, the Huskies forced eight Chippewa turnovers and shot over 51% on the offensive end.


The Huskies seemed to be in position for their first conference win of the season, as they led by double digits with under 10 minutes to play. 

It turned out to be more second half struggles as a 20-5 run from Central Michigan spurred by junior guard Anthony Pritchard and junior forward Markus Harding helped the Chippewas rally to force overtime. 

NIU scored just 13 points over the final 11 minutes of regulation, allowing Central Michigan to climb back into the game.

The Chippewas were nails at the free throw line, knocking down 12 of their 14 attempts. The Huskies made just 3 of their 7 free throws in the second half.


Overtime belonged to Central Michigan sophomore guard Paul McMillan IV, who scored 14 of his 21 points in the bonus periods. 

Clutch baskets from redshirt sophomore guard Zion Russell and sophomore forward Yanic Konan Niederhauser in the first overtime helped the Huskies push the game to double overtime.

Things went downhill for the Huskies in double overtime as Russell and Amos each fouled out in the first minute of double overtime, leaving the Huskies’ rotation depleted. The Chippewas used this to their advantage, scoring the first 7 points of the period and icing the game. 


The Huskies will return home to take on Eastern Michigan at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

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