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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Unsung heroes lift Huskies to upset win over Toledo

Tim Dodge
Junior guard David Coit (11) shoots a three-pointer over Ball State junior guard Jalin Anderson (1) on Feb. 20. Coit led the Huskies in scoring with 27 points in a 75-72 upset win over the University of Toledo on Tuesday. (Tim Dodge | Northern Star)

Up 73-72 with 16 seconds left and on the verge of handing the University of Toledo Rockets (17-11, 11-4 MAC) its first home conference loss of the season, former student manager guard Steven Tipton stepped to the free throw line and nailed two free throws to seal a 75-72 upset victory for NIU men’s basketball (10-18, 4-11 MAC) Tuesday. 

Tipton’s free throws marked his first points since a Dec. 29 loss at the University of Iowa. 

“Most times guys will give out an indication that their nerves are going to take a bigger percentage of them,” said NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno. “Tip (Tipton) came back and went ‘we got one and one right?’ It’s a testament to this team battling unbelievable adversity.”

The Huskies had just eight players active Tuesday night with junior guard Zarique Nutter, sophomore forward Xavier Amos, senior guard Philmon Gebrewhit and more absent from the lineup.

“I told them, they’re (Toledo) gonna look at us and they’re gonna look at Xavier Amos is not here, Nutter’s not here, this guy’s not here,” Burno said. “They’re not going to respect you, you have an opportunity to punch you in the mouth. We were ready for the challenge.”


While junior guard David Coit scored a team high 27 points, senior forward Harvin Ibarguen, junior forward Oluwasegun Durosinmi and freshman guard Will Lovings-Watts made the plays down the stretch to lead the Huskies second half comeback. 

“Harvin changed our energy,” Coit said. “His energy changed what we had going on. Duro (Durosinmi) just had crazy minutes, they all three came off the bench and had great minutes. Them having great minutes takes less from our (starting) five, now our minutes are more effective because they stepped up. So you have to credit those three guys, Will Lovings-Watts was huge. Those four guys, they led us today.”

Durosinmi poured in a career-high 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds. 10 of Durosinmi’s points came in the second half. Ibarguen finished with 5 points and 6 rebounds. 

“Those guys stayed together,” Burno said. “The Ball State game was an indicator that we can fight with whoever’s on the court. I thought my three fives (centers) had an unbelievable game.”

Lovings-Watts scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and led the Huskies with 10 rebounds. Lovings-Watts got fouled and drilled a three-pointer to give the Huskies a 60-58 lead with just over 5 minutes remaining, putting the Huskies ahead for good. 

“I just try to stay confident,” Lovings-Watts said. “I don’t want to get too down on myself and just keep my head in the game even if things aren’t going my way or if things aren’t going great. Just stay level headed and play my game.”


After trailing 37-28 at halftime, the Huskies caught fire in the final 20 minutes. NIU shot 60.7% from the field and connected on its final seven three-point attempts, outscoring the MAC’s second-best team by double digits in the second half.

“We made shots when it mattered,” Burno said. “I think we shot 50% from the field in the second half, from three we were 7-for-11. We did a good job of guarding without fouling, they weren’t even in the bonus. We just gotta keep fighting.”

In a second half that saw seven lead changes and two ties, it was Coit and Toledo junior guard Tyler Cochran trading blows. Coit scored 14 of his 27 points in the second half and Cochran scored 16 of his 27 in the second half. 

“In the second half, as long as we kept it close, we felt like we were going to win,” Coit said. “We knew we needed to make a run. If we kept it close, we felt like it was going to be up to us to get it done.”

Following Tipton’s free throws, Cochran had an opportunity to tie the game but was off target on a three-pointer at the buzzer, sealing NIU’s 75-72 win.

Coit and Lovings-Watts combined for nine of the Huskies’ 10 three pointers and made all 7 of NIU’s second-half three pointers. 

“We stayed together,” Burno said. “Diggy (David) Coit and Will Lovings-Watts had huge second halves. We’ll enjoy this one and then we have to get ready. Hopefully we’ll add another body, maybe, maybe not. But we have to go to war with what we have.”


The Huskies’ next game will be at 5 p.m. Saturday against the MAC-leading University of Akron Zips. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats.

Sitting three games behind the Western Michigan University Broncos for the final spot in the MAC Tournament, the Huskies must win out for a chance to make it to Cleveland.

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