Men’s basketball defeats the University of Miami–Ohio as Eugene German sets NIU scoring record

Jarrett Huff

DeKALB — After the women’s basketball team kicked off the NIU basketball double header with a dramatic win over the University at Buffalo Bulls, senior guard Eugene German and company led the men’s team to an exciting victory and a major milestone to cap off Saturday’s event.

German led the way with 21 points in NIU’s 70-55 win over the Miami University–Ohio RedHawks, breaking former NIU forward and NIU Athletics Hall of Famer T.J. Lux’s career-scoring record. German broke the record with under seven minutes remaining in the game. He also set a career-high in assists with six.

German said he was relieved to finally get the record and have the moment pass as the team looks ahead to the end of the season.

Redshirt senior Lacey James posted a 12 point and 10 rebound double-double, while sophomore guard Darius Beane added 13 points and three assists.

Both teams played a close first half, despite NIU leading the game for over 15 minutes. The Huskies led the RedHawks 28-25 going into halftime.

Montgomery believes the team’s eight turnovers in the first half kept the game close.

“It was our turnovers that kept stubbing us in the toe,” Montgomery said. “I thought that no one went back to back to back buckets on us. I thought we played good defense both halves.”

The Huskies got off to a hot start as James opened up scoring for the game. NIU would go on an early 7-2 run bolstered by German, who posted five points within the game’s first four minutes.

German cooled off, finishing the half shooting 2-7 from the field.

The Huskies excelled at attacking the paint, scoring 12 points off layups. NIU was active on the offensive glass, as the team combined for seven offensive boards, resulting in seven second-chance points.

The Huskies also held the RedHawks to 29% shooting from the field.

For Miami, first-year guard Dae Dae Grant led the way with 10 points in the first half.

The second half saw the Huskies come out more aggressive and disciplined on both ends of the floor. NIU’s lead reached as high as 19 points in the second half, and the Huskies led for the rest of regulation.

German’s second half saw a whirlwind of difference from his first half, as he shot 6-10 from the field for 14 points. As his scoring total grew during the half, so did the anticipation of the entire arena ahead of his record-setting moment.

German was active on the defensive end, as he picked off two passes to create fast break opportunities in transition. One such moment saw German leading the pack all alone as he sailed through the air on his way to an emphatic slam dunk that brought the Convocation Center crowd to its feet.

With 6:39 left on the clock, German drove to his right and took contact from a RedHawk defender, leading to a tough layup for his 18th point. When the ball finally fell inside the orange iron ring, the crowd erupted in applause as German became NIU’s all-time leader in points scored as a Huskie.

For the rest of the game, the crowd’s energy seemed to fuel the Huskies to the finish as the team did not let up for an instant. A two-hand slam from James in the final minutes kept the crowd roaring until the final buzzer.

NIU held junior guard Nike Sibande to a team-high 13 points after shutting him out in the first half. Grant was held to a single point in the second half, finishing the game with 11 points. Redshirt junior guard Milos Jovic was the only other RedHawk in double figure scoring, as he had 11 as well.

With the win, the Huskies extend their win streak to four, improving to 13-9 on the season and 6-3 in Mid-American Conference play. The team ends its three-game home stand as it heads out on the road to face the University of Toledo Rockets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Toledo, Ohio.

The game will be available on ESPN+.