Men’s basketball falls short against Broncos

By Khobi Price

DeKALB — The men’s basketball team (10-11, 3-5 Mid-American Conference) suffered a tight 79-72 loss Saturday to the Western Michigan University Broncos in a game that saw five ties and 14 lead changes, following up their blowout victory Tuesday over the Bowling Green State University Falcons.

Head Coach Mark Montgomery said he credits his team for playing hard but said they couldn’t get important defensive stops when they needed to.

“I thought we dominated the first half even though we were still down by four,” Montgomery said. “We shot a great percentage in the second half. It just came down to some little things in the last five minutes of the game.”

The Falcons made a crucial 3-point basket with 3:54 remaining in the second half to extend their four-point lead to seven points. It capped off a possession, which took more than a minute of game time off the clock after the Huskies allowed two offensive rebounds.

NIU failed to bring the deficit to less than five points and were about even for the remainder of the game.

“[Thomas] Wilder made big shots,” Montgomery said. “It seemed like every time we were going to make a push he would make a shot to keep them in it. At times, they couldn’t stop us, and we couldn’t stop them. That’s what made it a great game.”

Sophomore guard Eugene German, the MAC’s leading scorer with 19.5 points per contest, recorded a team-high 21 points. Junior forward Levi Bradley scored 20 points, and junior guard Dante Thorpe tallied 10 points.

The Huskies will face Central Michigan University 6 p.m. Tuesday in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

“They have a stingy zone, [and] they shoot 3-pointers awfully well,” Montgomery said. “It’s going to be more about us playing with great energy and effort. [We have to] share the ball, knock down some shots and make enough plays down the stretch to win the game.”

Montgomery began his coaching career as an assistant with the Chippewas and said the game carries sentimental value for him.

“It’s always an emotional game,” Montgomery said. “They want to beat me, and I want to beat them. They know how I’m a competitor, and I want to win the game like it’s nobody’s business. It’s always something special.”