Men’s basketball drops second straight

By Julian Nunnery

DeKalb — A tough start on the road was too much for the men’s basketball team (10-12, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) to overcome against Central Michigan University Tuesday as it fell 81-67.

The Chippewas knocked down a staggering 17 3-pointers in the game, nine of which came in the first half. The Huskies started the game making only two of their first 11 field goal attempts and trailed 41-23 at the half.

Head Coach Mark Montgomery, who started his career as an assistant coach at Central Michigan, said it was a combination of lackluster defense, sluggish offense and lack of energy that caused the slow start for his team.

“We weren’t locked in on our defensive principles to start the game,” Montgomery said. “That hurt us. We were stagnant on offense. I just didn’t like our energy level; it seemed like we were standing around. It almost seemed like we were already drained before the game started.”

NIU showed more fight in the second half, as they outscored Central Michigan 44-40. Junior guard Dante Thorpe was largely responsible for the turnaround, as he scored 15 of 17 points in the second half.

The comeback effort wasn’t enough, however, as the Chippewas had an answer for every time the Huskies tried to get back in the game.

NIU was able to cut the lead down to 13, as they trailed 72-59 with just under five minutes left in the game.

The Huskies were paced by sophomore guard Eugene German, who led the team with 21 points and seven rebounds. Junior forward Levi Bradley also had a solid performance scoring 13 points, grabbing four rebounds and tying Thorpe with a team-high two assists.

Freshman guard Gairges Daow had another strong night, scoring 10 points, five rebounds and tied German and Thorpe for a team-high two steals.

At the official halfway point in MAC conference play, Montgomery said he believes his team can win all of their remaining conference games, and they remain contenders for the conference championship in March.

“I think we can compete with anybody in this league,” Montgomery said. “We just have to believe in ourselves. Buy into the offensive and defensive philosophy we give them for every game. I think we can get this thing rolling.”

NIU will look to end its current two-game losing streak against the Miami University RedHawks 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center.