Co-captains pace White over Red in last tune-up

By Tom Clegg

First, the good news: guard Jeff Delaney scored 28 points in the NIU basketball team’s final preseason intrasquad scrimmage Friday night in Shabbona.

Now, the bad news: Delaney is ineligible to play with the Huskies this season after transferring from Illinois-Chicago after last year.

Delaney led all scorers, but his Red team lost to the White, 77-66. Topping the White were this season’s co-captain duo of Donald Whiteside and Donnell Thomas. Both sophomores scored 19, including four 3-pointers by Whiteside.

Playing before a boisterous, slam-dunk-starved crowd at Shabbona High School, the Huskies did not disappoint. Midway through the first half, Andrew Wells and Thomas recorded back-to-back dunks off the break for the White. Thomas followed with a block of a sure layup by freshman Mike Hidden on the other end.

Assistant coach Robert Collins, in charge of the defense this season, said the Huskies looked better than in previous scrimmages on defense for “about 33 minutes out of 40” Friday.

Collins said the team is “behind schedule on the press” and the zone defense, but he attributed that to the team’s efforts to improve its man-to-man defense.

The Huskies will see how far they’ve come next Saturday when they host Bethel College in their first regular-season game.