Patience, persistence play key role in 1989-90 Huskie success

By Wes Swietek

Last year against Loyola the Huskies scored 94 points—and lost. Monday night against Loyola, Molinari’s crew managed 60—and won (60-56).

The Huskies avenged last years’ 100-94 loss to the Ramblers with patience and persistence that was at times lacking in 1988-89’s 11-17 season. Monday night, with his squad trailing 9-0, Huskie coach Jim Molinari encouraged his troops to stay patient.

“I told them to stay with what we were doing—you have to keep playing. (It’s) too early to panic, you have to pick up your intensity and that’s what they did.”

One of the leaders in Monday night’s win, junior forward Andrew Wells, has noticed the difference between last season’s attack under former coach Jim Rosborough and this season under Molinari.

“We ran a little more last year,” said the Chicago product.”A patient offense creates a lot of things; it discourages the defense. The teams we play have a tendency to get off-balance.

“The urge to run,” Wells admits, “is sometimes tempting. (A patient offense) is good, but we like to run. If it’s there we will, but if it’s not, we won’t.”

A key factor in the Huskies’ surprising 9-7 start is the patient offense and rugged defense that is reflected in the scorebook. After 16 games last season, the Huskies had scored 80 or more points six times. After the same amount of games this year, NIU has topped 80 points only once, but their 9-7 record as opposed to last seasons’ 5-11 mark speaks for itself.

On the season, the Huskies are averaging 63.7 points against their opponents’ 62.9. NIU’s defensive statistics for the season speak the loudest about the team’s new tempo and defensive emphasis. Minnesota’s 81 points against the Huskies this year are the most points given up by Molinari’s team. In contrast, 13 teams managed 90 or more points against the Huskies last year.

The slower tempo of the new-look Huskies might not be as exciting as a run-and-gun offense, but the results show up on the scoreboard, as Loyola found out last night.