NIU looks to create offense

Guard Laytwan Porter dribbles the ball down the court on Friday at the Victor E. Court. The Huskies would lose 80-85 in double overtime against Elon.

By Tom Burton

DeKALB | The men’s basketball team is looking to get the season back on track against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 p.m. Sunday in Minneapolis.

The Gophers (6-1), who play in the Big Ten Conference, are having a successful season thus far, outscoring their opponents by an average of more than 12 points per game in their first seven contests. They recently dropped their Nov. 28 game against Florida State University, 75-67, but had an impressive showing against a tough opponent.

The Huskies (4-4) look to bounce back from a tough stretch of basketball, having dropped four of their last five games, including a 52-63 loss Wednesday to the Indiana State University Sycamores.

NIU had a difficult time getting its offense going, with the starters shooting 10-for-33 in the game. However, the Huskies got a good performance from freshman guard Justin Thomas, who finished with 14 points in 21 minutes.

“Hopefully [Wednesday’s game] will only build his confidence going forward to provide that spark off the bench,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery.

Plagued by 3-point shooting this season, the Huskies are shooting 31 percent from behind-the-arc which is good for 299 out of 347 Division I basketball teams, according to the NCAA’s website. 

On the flip side, the Gophers have three players shooting over 35 percent from behind the 3-point line: junior guard Nate Mason (.357) and sophomore guards Dupree McBrayer (.391) and Ahmad Gilbert (.500).

The Huskies will need better performances from their starters, particularly their seniors, center Marin Maric and forward Aaric Armstead. Montgomery said he is high on Armstead and knows these two have to play well for the team to have success.

Through eight games this season, Armstead has led the team in rebounding three times and twice in scoring. The team will need more of this in order to avoid falling before .500 on the young season. 

After Sunday’s matchup, the Huskies will return home 7 p.m. Dec. 14 to play Olivet Nazarene University at the Convocation Center.