Huskies fend off Falcons

By Krystal Ward

Men’s basketball is off to a hot start in Mid-American Conference play, winning for the third time in four games Saturday.

NIU (11-6, 3-1 MAC) defeated the Bowling Green State University Falcons (3-10, 1-7 MAC), 69-52, at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Huskies look to continue their hot start 7 p.m. today in the Convocation Center against the Miami University Redhawks (8-8, 1-2 MAC) to begin a three-game homestand.

Bowling Green State University

NIU held the lead for over 90 percent of the game in its victory over the Falcons. 

Sophomore forward Jaylen Key and sophomore wing Levi Bradley led the the Huskies with 12 points each. Key went 6-for-9 from the field and Bradley went 4-for-6 as they both shot 66.7 percent from the field.

Senior guard Aaric Armstead came up with four steals and six rebounds while senior center Marin Maric grabbed 10 rebounds and scored seven points.

The Huskies shot 42 percent (25-59) and held Bowling Green to 39.2 percent (20-51) shooting.

NIU went on an 8-0 run with 8:41 to play in the first half, giving the team a 16-8 lead and sparking a Falcons timeout.

NIU took a 31-25 lead into halftime, but back-to-back triples from the Falcons cut the lead to 33-31 and the Huskies called timeout.

Bowling Green kept the game close until NIU took a 48-37 lead with 12 minutes left in the second half, and that is as close as the Falcons would get to the the Huskies the rest of the way.

Miami Preview

NIU lost its MAC opener Jan. 3 to the Redhawks, 69-67, after overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit and shooting over 50 percent in the second half.

Since the loss, the Huskies have won their past three contests against MAC West rival Central Michigan University on Jan. 7 and MAC East opponents Kent State University Jan. 10 and Bowling Green Saturday.

NIU has one of the top defenses in the conference, ranking second in both scoring defense and steals with Armstead in the top 15 in the conference in steals (1.4) and blocks (0.9) per game.

This looks to be a low-scoring game as both teams rank near the bottom of most offensive categories in the MAC, but NIU’s defensive prowess gives them an advantage, especially on the boards. The Huskies (39.9) are grabbing 3.8 more rebounds than their opponents (36.1) this season and are second in the MAC in offensive rebounds with 13.9 per game, Miami is 11th, which could lead to more second chance points for NIU.

In two of Miami’s last three games, its opponents, University of Toledo and Ball State University, have shot over 55 percent for the game. Though NIU’s offense, shooting around 44 percent on the season, is not as high-powered as Toledo’s or Ball State’s, the Huskies should have their chances against Miami’s defense and combined with their own defense, could be able to pull out a victory this time.