Bulls beat Huskies in second half surge

By Julian Nunnery

DeKALB — In a quick turnaround from its home victory Saturday over Eastern Michigan, the men’s basketball team wasn’t able to duplicate its performance Tuesday at Buffalo.

The Huskies fell 95-67 in what was mainly the result of a dominant second half performance by the Bulls.

NIU hung tough in the first half and trailed 36-33 heading into the break. The Huskies’ leading scorer, sophomore guard Eugene German, got off to a surprisingly tough start in the first half, only scoring two points. Junior guard Dante Thorpe kept the Huskies in the game with a few timely baskets and a team-high of nine first half points.

Head Coach Mark Montgomery said he felt his team had control over the game in the first half.

“We controlled tempo,” Montgomery said. “We got back in transition, showed some patience on offense and we got the ball inside. We were in a better rhythm; we got to the free throw line, and we got stops. That’s why we were only down three at halftime.”

Buffalo looked like a different team in the second half and outscored the Huskies 59-34. The Bulls knocked down eight of their 11 3-pointers in the second half and seemed to have an answer for every attempt NIU made to try to get back in the game.

Montgomery said he thought the game turned out of control about halfway through the second half, as his team began turning the ball over and forcing up shots too early on the shot clock.

“I think it changed at about the 12-minute mark [in the second half],” Montgomery said. “We had 10 turnovers in the second half. We didn’t have enough poise and patience in the second half to get the shots that we wanted. We took a lot of quick shots in the second half and that cost us.”

NIU finished the game with a season-low five assists and only countered with four 3-pointers of their own on 16 attempts.

Although German struggled shooting the ball, he still led the team in scoring with 17 points and two steals. Thorpe finished with 14 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists.

Junior forward Levi Bradley picked up 10 points and recorded the team’s only block of the game. Freshman guard Gairges Daow, who recently was inserted into the starting lining up, finished with a team-high seven rebounds.

At just over halfway through the season, NIU has a .500 record at 9-9.

The Huskies’ next game will be against the University of Akron Zips. Tip-off for the game will be 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Akron, Ohio.

Correction: The headline for this article previously read “Rockets blast the Huskies”. The Rockets and the Huskies did not face off on Tuesday. The headline was incorrect and has been changed to reflect the correct teams who played.