Four Huskies post double-digit points en route to men’s basketball’s first victory

By Mike Knapp

DeKALB — Nathan Scott and Darius Beane joined the men’s basketball program for the 2019-20 season with a reputation of being impact players.

Junior forward Scott and sophomore guard Beane both lived up to that billing Friday night as the Huskies took on Coppin State University as part of the College Hoops Roadshow tournament, combining for 30 points and 14 rebounds to send NIU to an 81-69 win at the Convocation Center.

Scott, a transfer from Olney Community College, saw playing time in the Huskies’ first two games against the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University – both losses – but struggled to be effective in either game. Friday night, the 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward got going right away. He scored five points in the first four minutes of the game and finished the first half with 12 points and five boards to help the Huskies head to the break with a 37-29 lead.

Scott finished the night with 18 points and tied first-year guard Tyler Cochran for the team lead in rebounds with eight.

“I’m getting more comfortable with my team, and they are telling me to just play my game,” Scott said. “I was pumped and ready to go.”

The game was a nice bounce back from Tuesday’s 70-52 loss at Iowa State University, where Scott didn’t score and fouled out in just 10 minutes on the floor.

“[Scott] is the ideal stretch-four man, and he can become a better defender and a better rebounder,” Head Coach Mark Montgomery said. “He has a lot of good basketball ahead of him here. Once he gets stronger and learns the system, he is going to help us win a lot of games this season.”

Beane came to NIU after playing 32 games at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale last season. After sitting out the first two games of the season, Beane came off the bench and had 12 points, six rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes of action.

Beane was also a factor on defense, posting three steals and a block.

“It felt good to finally be out there,” Beane said. “I was excited to get on the court and help my teammates. [Montgomery] has been on me about being a better defender and that I can see more minutes if I continue to improve. I’m starting to take more pride in that.”

Senior guard Eugene German, who came into the game averaging 22.5 points per game, matched that with a game-high 23 points, also grabbing seven rebounds and three assists. 

Redshirt senior Lacey James forward was the fourth Huskie in double figures with 11 points.

With 68 points in his first three games, German has moved within 359 points of T.J. Lux on the school’s all-time scoring list. He is 20 points away from passing Leon Rodgers, who scored 1,657 points from 1998-02, for fifth place.

The Huskies never trailed in the game and led by as many as 15 points on two occasions in the second half. 

The defense held the Eagles, now 1-3 on the year, to 37% shooting while forcing 17 turnovers. NIU was also plus-18 in the rebounding column, holding a 51-33 advantage. The Huskies turned 15 offensive rebounds into 12-second chance points.

“It’s always fun to say ‘Huskies win,’” Montgomery said. “We got a lot of good basketball out of everyone who played. [Coppin State] came in very confident, but our guys were locked in.”

The Huskies have to sleep fast as they have a matinee date with Rockford University 3 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center.