Men’s basketball drops another at home


Men’s basketball drops another at home

By Julian Nunnery

DeKALB — In its most back-and-forth game of the season, the men’s basketball team could not follow up the upset win over University at Buffalo, as they were defeated by Central Michigan University Tuesday at the Convocation Center.

The Huskies (11-15, 4-9 Mid American Conference) fell 80-72 in a game that saw an astounding 17 lead changes and 15 tied scores.

“We just couldn’t get separation in the second half,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery. “It was a back-and-forth game. Credit Central Michigan — they made plays down the stretch. We didn’t execute, and we didn’t get stops.”

The game was close from nearly start to finish. NIU trailed by just one point, 40-39, going into halftime.

Sophomore guard Eugene German was on a roll in the first half, as he scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 shooting from behind the 3-point line.

German’s offensive aggressiveness and efficiency seemed to whither, however, as he only finished the game with 23 points and 9-of-17 shooting from the field.

“In the first half, I was just taking what was there,” German said. “In the second half, I was just trying to run the offense. When I passed the ball, they denied me from getting the ball back pretty well. They keyed in on me and played great defense in the second half.”

The second half was just as tightly contested as the first. NIU held a 63-59 lead with nine minutes left to play and looked as if they were going to create enough separation to win the game.

However, the Chippewas immediately responded with a 5-0 run to regain the lead at 64-63 with 6 1/2 minutes left to play. Both teams continued to swap the lead until junior forward Levi Bradley picked up a crucial fifth foul to end his night with two minutes left to play.

The Huskies fell a bit out of sync without their second leading scorer, as Central Michigan went on an 8-2 run to close out the game.

Despite fouling out, Bradley produced another efficient game, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and going a perfect 3-of-3 from the charity stripe.

Two other players in junior forward Lacey James and freshman guard Gairges Daow also finished with double-digit scoring numbers for the Huskies.

James had his most efficient offensive game of the season, scoring 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 shooting from the free throw line.

“I just took what they gave me,” James said. “I got the ball down low and got easy baskets.”

Daow was also efficient on the offensive end, scoring 10 points and knocking down two of his three 3-point attempts. As a solidified member of the starting unit, Daow said he understands what his role needs to be for the remainder of the season.

“As a starter, I’m a glue guy,” Daow said. “Doing the little things that don’t show up in the stats like taking charges. Also getting to my spots and knocking down shots.”

NIU will face another Michigan opponent in its next game in a rematch against Western Michigan University. Tip-off will be 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center.