German, Huskies win home finale


Sophomore guard Eugene German celebrates the game-winning basket in the Huskies’ 66-65 home win over Ball State Friday. German finished with a team-high 25 points.  

By Julian Nunnery

Sophomore guard Eugene German did it again as he hit a game-winning mid-range jumper to give the men’s basketball team a 66-65 win Friday over the Ball State University Cardinals in its final regular season game.

“We ran a play for me called horns pinch, so I knew I was going to take the shot the whole time,” German said. “I was very motivated, and I practice that shot a lot. I know I can make it, so I took it.”

The senior night victory for the Huskies (13-18, 6-12 Mid American Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak heading into MAC tournament play.

NIU came out of the gate firing in its second go-around with the Cardinals this season. The Huskies led 37-29 at the half due in large part to a dominant 17-point first half from German.

Ball State immediately responded with a 15-0 run to start the second half, putting themselves ahead 44-37. The Huskies didn’t give in and remained within striking distance for the majority of the half.

With 22 seconds left in the game and the Huskies trailing 65-64, German came off a screen at the top of the key and nailed a mid-range jumper with 16 seconds left to give NIU a one-point advantage.

{{tncms-inline account=”MrBucket10″ html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trying to tell Yall I got ice ‼️ <a href=""></a></p>— Eugene German (@MrBucket10) <a href="">March 3, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”969783523556110336″ type=”twitter”}}

The basket proved to be the game-winner as Ball State missed a 3-point attempt with four seconds left and the Huskies secured the rebound and a 66-65 victory. German finished with a game-high 25 points and five rebounds.

Junior forward Levi Bradley finished with 18 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds.

“I was just trying to be competitive,” Bradley said. “We told ourselves going into the game that we have to play with heart, and that’s what I tried to do.”

Junior guard Dante Thorpe rounded out the double-digit scoring for NIU with 11 points to go along with three rebounds. Thorpe hit a clutch 3-point basket to bring the Huskies within two points with two minutes left in the game.

“I knew if the defense collapsed on [German], he was going to kick it to me because we trust each other,” Thorpe said. “I knew he was coming my way, so he gave it to me and I knocked it down.”

German said the Huskies are aware of how much of a momentum builder this win was for them with the MAC tournament being right around the corner.

“We were in the mud,” German Said. “We were on a losing streak but heading into the tournament Monday, this was a very big win for us. It gives us confidence.”

The Huskies finished the season with an impressive 11-4 record at home but finished 1-12 on the road. Head Coach Mark Montgomery said the team needs to put those records in the past and focus on Monday’s first round MAC tournament matchup on the road.

“It’s a refresh of energy and life,” Montgomery said. “I’m going to come in tomorrow and smash all of the road game DVD’s and let my guys know all we have to do is win one [game]. I’ll let those guys know I’m planning on packing four suits to first win on Monday and hopefully get a chance to wear all four.”

With the game between the Western Michigan University Broncos and Central Michigan University Chippewas being postponed Friday, NIU’s first round opponent Monday is still undetermined.

Saturday’s game between Central Michigan and Western Michigan will determine NIU’s opponent. A Broncos victory would send the Huskies to a rematch with Ball State while a Chippewas win would send the Huskies to Kent State.