Men’s hoops blown out by Toledo


Sophomore guard Justin Thomas surveys the floor in the Huskies’ 97-67 home loss Tuesday against Toledo. 

By Julian Nunnery

DeKALB — The men’s basketball team (12-18, 5-12 Mid American Conference) could not withstand another exceptional shooting performance from its opponent and fell 97-67 Tuesday to the University of Toledo Rockets.

The Rockets shot 34-of-59 from the field and 14-of-29 from behind the 3-point arc.

“You have to give Toledo all the credit in the world,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery. “They came out and got in a good rhythm right away. It just seemed like we couldn’t get a stop early. They gained confidence on the offensive end, and our defense just let us down.”

NIU hung tough early but had trouble slowing the Rockets down as the game progressed. Toledo used a huge 19-2 run toward the end of the first half to catapult itself to a 48-23 lead. NIU was unable to do much to chip away at that lead as it trailed 48-27 at the break.

The Huskies brought the lead down to 15 points a couple of times in the second half but were never able to get themselves back into striking distance. The Huskies ended up losing by 30 points in their third straight loss.

Although Toledo played well as a team, it was an individual performance from senior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher that was too much for NIU to handle. Fletcher recorded a triple-double in the game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

“Fletcher is a tough matchup because of his size and athleticism,” Montgomery said. “He did a good job. He’s a player of the year candidate in this league, and he made us pay tonight.”

Sophomore guard Eugene German delivered another strong offensive performance. German finished with a game-high 27 points, 21 of which came in the second half.

“I was mad about how I played in the first half,” German said. “I tried to come out with more energy in the second half and help my team win, or at least win the second half.”

Junior forward Levi Bradley also scored in double digits, adding 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Bradley said he realizes this was his highest rebound total in a long stretch of games, and his team will need more of that effort on the boards heading into tournament play.

“I was just trying to have a sense of urgency,” Bradley said. “I’m trying to put us into a good position heading into the MAC tournament. I have to be better at making [rebounding] not a once in a while thing.”

Junior forward Lacey James was NIU’s most efficient player ,scoring 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field to go along with seven rebounds.

The Huskies will play their final regular season game of the year against Ball State University 7 p.m. Friday at the Convocation Center