Men’s basketball wins in overtime crunch

By Julian Nunnery

DeKALB — A season-high crowd of 1,565 people were on hand to watch sophomore guard Eugene German score a game-winning bucket in overtime over the top-seeded University at Buffalo Bulls.

“Incredible crowd,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery. “You could feel the energy in the Convocation Center.”

With five seconds left in overtime and the score tied at 88-88, German scored a go-ahead layup to give the Huskies (11-14, 4-8 Mid American Conference) a two-point advantage. The basket would turn out to be the game-winner as the Huskies got a much needed 90-88 win after previously losing four straight games.

“It feels real good,” said sophomore guard Justin Thomas. “We were on a losing streak so it feels real good. We came out to play today. We came out with fire.” It was another back and forth game for the Huskies that had six ties and 10 lead changes.

Despite getting off to a strong start, the Huskies trailed 45-37 at the end of the first half.

The game looked like it was going to be a fifth straight loss for the Huskies when the Bulls took a 13-point lead with just over eight minutes left in the second half.

However, NIU immediately responded with a 14-1 run to tie the game at 73-73 with about five minutes left.

With 12 seconds to play and the game tied at 82-82, both German and junior forward Anastasios Demogerontas had opportunities to win the game in regulation. Both came up short, however, as German missed a long 3-point attempt and Demogerontas could not finish a putback layup attempt after rebounding German’s shot. German did not miss his second game-winning attempt in overtime as NIU snapped its seven-game losing streak against Buffalo. German once again led the Huskies in points, with 28, and rebounds, with seven. German said he knew his team would need an aggressive performance from him to pull off an upset over Buffalo.

“I plan to be aggressive every game,” German said. “But for Buffalo, with them being the top seed, of course you want to come out and attack them.”

Junior forward Levi Bradley had another efficient game, scoring 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field.

Thomas was the x-factor for the Huskies, scoring a season-high 17 points while also dishing out a team-high four assists and grabbing five rebounds.

“I was just making plays,” Thomas said. “Basketball is a game of instincts where you just go off what the defense gives you.”

Montgomery says he knows this win will give his team confidence moving forward and has made them believe they are able to play with anyone on any night.

“It gives you confidence,” Montgomery said. “Any time you can beat the top team in the league, you’re going to gain confidence. The guys are definitely going to feel better about themselves.”

NIU will have a short turnaround with its next game being a rematch against Central Michigan. Tip-off for the game will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Convocation Center.