German comes in clutch for men’s basketball with four-point play late in game

Then-first-year+guard+Tyler+Cochran+looks+to+get+the+edge+on+a+screen+Monday+during+NIUs+65-48+win+against+Longwood+University+at+the+Convocation+Center.

Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

Then-first-year guard Tyler Cochran looks to get the edge on a screen Monday during NIU’s 65-48 win against Longwood University at the Convocation Center.

Jarrett Huff

DeKALB — Wins keep rolling in for men’s basketball as it defeated Southern Illinois University — Edwardsville in a close game on Saturday. Senior guard Eugene German’s four-point play in the final 10 seconds lifted the Huskies over the Cougars 68-64.

“It’s a great win; it keeps the momentum going, and we talked about it before the game — just find a way,” Head Coach Mark Montgomery said. “We just couldn’t shake them. You have to give them credit, they junked it up. They played some box-and-one, sometimes it was triangle-and-two. Even on the [four-point play], they had two guys on [German], but he made a play.”

German continued his run of great plays after scoring 26 points and picking up six assists Wednesday against Western Illinois University. The senior posted 23 points, three assists, two steals, and a block on 50% shooting, including 3-5 from behind the arc, against the Cougars.

Sophomore guard Darius Beane contributed 12 points, and redshirt senior forward Lacey James added 10 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. 

A trio of Cougars stood out for SIUE. Senior guard Tyresse Williford had a team-high 18 points and eight assists, while junior guard Zeke Moore had 15 points, six assists and three steals. Junior guard Mike Adewunmi added 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Huskies out-rebounded the Cougars 37-26 and forced SIUE into 15 turnovers. SIUE converted on 48.1% of its shot attempts throughout the game, but NIU’s defense held it to 26.7% on 15 shot attempts from behind the arc.

NIU struggled to break away from SIUE at any point during the game. NIU’s largest lead during the game was nine points with under nine minutes to go in the first half. The Huskies didn’t get their first lead of the game until 11 minutes and six seconds remaining in the first half, as German put the team up 15-13 off a three-point shot. The first half ended 34-32 in NIU’s favor.

In the second half, the teams briefly exchanged the lead until SIUE took it away, controlling it for the majority of the half. NIU didn’t see a lead until the end when with four minutes and 13 seconds remaining in the second, German gave the Huskies a 57-55 lead.

The Huskies held on to the lead until the final 24 seconds when Williford banked a layup, putting the Cougars ahead 63-61.

With the shot clock off, German received the ball on an inbound and after a series of passes, drained a three-point shot while being fouled by SIUE sophomore guard Kenyon Duling. German converted the free throw, completing the four-point play and putting the Huskies ahead 65-63 with 10 seconds to go.

Yet it wasn’t over for the Cougars. Williford was fouled on a fast break with four seconds remaining and split a pair of free throws, cutting the Huskies’ lead to one.

Moore instantly committed a foul to stop time, sending NIU junior guard Trendon Hankerson to the line with under four seconds on the clock. Hankerson converted both free throws, extending the lead to three 67-64. German made a final trip to the line, making both free throws, extending the lead to 68-64.

Before the final buzzer, James put away SIUE for good after he made a steal with two seconds to go, capping off a strenuous game and giving NIU its fifth straight victory.

With the win, NIU improves to 5-2 on the season.

NIU returns to the hardwood 7 p.m. Monday at the Convocation Center against Oakland University.