Huskies finish seventh in Florida


Huskies finish seventh in Florida

By Julian Nunnery

The men’s basketball team picked up a 70-86 win against Manhattan College Wednesday after a game-winning floater by junior forward Levi Bradley.

The Huskies concluded play in the Gulf Coast Showcase Wednesday in Estero, Florida. The team finished 1-2 in the tournament after falling to Penn University Monday, Florida Atlantic University Tuesday and closing out with the win against Manhattan Wednesday.

Monday – Penn

After starting slow against Penn and trailing 25-6 only six minutes into the game, the team was unable to recover and ended up losing the game 93-80.

“It was very unfortunate that we got off to a very, very slow start,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery, according to NIU Media Services. “We just didn’t have any patience offensively. We didn’t defend and we didn’t rebound [in the first half], it was very disappointing.”

The team was led by sophomore guard Eugene German, who scored a team-high 17 points. He also grabbed three rebounds and dished out five assists in the loss.

Bradley and junior guard Dante Thorpe each finished with 14 points while junior forward Anastasios Demogerontas added 13.

The Huskies finished on an 8-3 run to end the first half but still trailed 49-32 at the break. The team was able to trim the lead down again to 11 points as it trailed 70-59 with about nine minutes left in the second half.

The Quakers quickly responded with a 3-pointer the next possession to push the lead back up to 14 points. Penn never looked back, coasting to a 13-point victory and advancing to the semifinal round in the winner’s bracket.

Tuesday – Florida Atlantic

The loss to Penn sent NIU to the consolation bracket for a semifinal matchup against Florida Atlantic Tuesday. The Huskies showed a stronger start in their second game as they led by three points at halftime 29-26.

The Owls responded in the second half, shooting 56.3 percent on 18-for-32 shooting from the field and winning the game by double digits 77-67.

“We had a good rhythm [in the first half], we had seven assists and three turnovers,” said Montgomery, according to NIU Media Services. “We were sharing the basketball, it was moving, we were fast-breaking and doing good things. In the second half, we had one assist and seven turnovers. With those seven turnovers, we couldn’t get into a rhythm or a flow.”

German scored another team-high 21 points while Bradley chipped in 13 points and five rebounds. Thorpe and junior forward Lacey James also added eight points each.

The Huskies were able to tie the game at 60-60 with just under six minutes left to play in the second half. Florida Atlantic proved to be too much down the stretch, scoring the next eight straight points to push the lead to 68-60 and finishing the game on a 17-7 run.

Wednesday – Manhattan

The loss placed NIU in the seventh place match against Manhattan College. The Huskies secured a hard-fought 70-68 win with clutch plays down the stretch from Bradley, German and sophomore forward Noah McCarty.

The score was tied at 68-68 with 22 seconds left when McCarty pulled down an offensive rebound giving NIU another possession after they were unable to take the lead in their first attempt. The Huskies took advantage a few seconds later when Bradley nailed a floater in the paint to take a two-point lead with just 15 seconds left.

The Jaspers would attempt a corner 3-pointer to win the game, but it was blocked by German out of bounds with under a second remaining. Manhattan attempted a lob pass to send the game into overtime, but it was unsuccessful and gave NIU the victory.

“I give our guys a lot of credit,” said Montgomery, according to NIU Media Services. “After three days of basketball, our guys reached down and found that little extra to win the game. It was a total team win.”

Bradley led the team with 22 points and German finished with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Thorpe added 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and a timely steal.

The Huskies finished in seventh place in the Gulf Coast Showcase and now currently hold a 3-2 record on the season.

NIU will look to carry the momentum from the win over Manhattan in its next game against Rockford University. The game will tip off 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Convocation Center.