Men’s basketball handles Chicago State


Men’s basketball handles Chicago State

By Khobi Price

The men’s basketball team bounced back from its double-digit loss Wednesday to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers with a dominant 95-77 victory Saturday against the Chicago State University Cougars.

The Huskies (5-3) scored the first three baskets of the game and didn’t relinquish the lead for their third wire-to-wire victory of the season.

“We came in [Friday] and had a very focused practice, went through our morning routine [Saturday] and jumped out on them, shooting an unbelievable percentage in the first half,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery, according to NIU Media Services. “A lot of guys gave us quality minutes, and we did some good things today.”

Montgomery said he believed the team’s strong start set the tone for the commanding win.

“Our guys came out aggressive today on both ends of the floor,” Montgomery said. “We started out on a run that dictated how we played the rest of the game. We’re getting stops, making shots, sharing the ball. Getting 11 assists at halftime on 14 made field goals, that’s good basketball.”

Sophomore guard Eugene German celebrated his 20th birthday with a dominant showing, including a season-high 26 points and two career-highs with six assists and three steals.

Junior forward Levi Bradley recorded 14 points, five rebounds and shot 6-for-8 from the field.

Sophomore guard Justin Thomas tallied 11 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.

“It was the first [time] we were up by that much at halftime versus a Division 1 opponent,” Montgomery said. “We had to come out in the second half and still maintain our focus. I thought our guys came out, stayed focus and a lot of guys played good basketball today, so I had the chance to trust the bench a little bit more.”

The bench was led by freshman guard Rod Henry-Hayes, who tallied a career-high of 13 points and had career-highs with five field goals made and three 3-pointers.

NIU shot 52.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range. The Huskies recorded a season-high 22 assists and a season-low nine turnovers, including only three at halftime.

Montgomery said he’s been encouraged by the Huskies’ ability to overcome adversity in the young season.

“We lost Wednesday night to Milwaukee, bounced back and got our first true road win on Saturday,” Montgomery said. “Our guys can overcome a little adversity, get punched in the face but then respond. I think our guys love responding well after losses. Hopefully, we can put a streak together and get some wins.”

NIU will have a quick turnaround with its next game coming against the Iowa State University Cyclones 8 p.m. Monday in Ames, Iowa.