Men’s basketball destroys Rockford

By Khobi Price

DeKalb — After going 1-2 in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida Wednesday, the men’s basketball team returned to action at the Convocation Center with a 105-53 blowout victory Sunday against the Rockford University Regents.

The Huskies (4-2) dominated the game from the opening tip-off and opened the game up with a 17-0 run, leading to a wire-to-wire victory. NIU led by as many as 52 points.

NIU controlled the game in several statistical categories. They shot 55.7 percent from the field, recorded 55 bench points, 64 points in the paint, 20 fast break points, made 19 more free throws and out-rebounded Rockford 51-33.

Head Coach Mark Montgomery challenged the team to play the game the right way beforehand and was satisfied with the effort he saw.

“I thought our guys pretty much took care of business,” Montgomery said. “You just never know when you play three games less than a week back-to-back-to-back. We needed a game like this to get some other guys going.”

The team was led by sophomore guard Eugene German, who scored a game-high 16 points and junior guard Dante Thorpe, who stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals.

Sophomore guard Justin Thomas tallied 11 points and shot a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, including the opening basket of the game.

“I told the guys down in Florida that we need our bench,” Montgomery said. “We need the bench to keep improving because they’re that second wave that can maintain or get a lead. I thought today in the second half our bench got us over the top and extended the lead even more, which was nice to see.”

The bench was led by freshman guard Rod Henry-Hayes, who recorded 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Junior forward Anastasios Demogerontas, who shot 7-for-13 from the field, scored 15 points and had a team-high three steals.

“We just had to execute our offense,” Demogerontas said. “We had to practice running some plays, share the ball and lock in on defense. We have a couple tough games coming up, so that was a good way to get some practice in.”

The Huskies held Rockford to a field goal percentage of 32.9 percent and forced 20 turnovers.

“We did a good job scouting them,” Montgomery said. “We watched film, we did personnel and we did everything you’re supposed to do in these games. [The] guys just came out with a mindset of wanting to start off fast on both ends of the floor, and that’s what we did.”

NIU will look to continue its two-game winning streak in the next game against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Convocation Center.