Offense struggles in early rematch

Head CoachMark Montgomery

Head CoachMark Montgomery

By Tom Burton

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. | Men’s basketball (4-4) fell short, 63-52, against the Indiana State Sycamores (3-4) Wednesday night in a rematch of their Nov. 11 season opener.

The Huskies had another difficult shooting night, shooting only 35 percent from the field and 3-16 from behind the 3-point line.

“Unfortunately, we did not answer the bell tonight, especially in the second half,” Head Coach Mark Montgomery said. “The guys played hard, but we didn’t make enough shots.”

The NIU starters shot a combined 10-for-33 in the game and committed 17 turnovers, including six from sophomore guard Laytwan Porter.

Senior center Marin Maric tallied two points on 0-for-6 from the field, but added a pair of free throws in 30 minutes.

Montgomery said the offense was out of sync and the coaching staff knew good defense could only keep the game close for so long.

“Give [Indiana State] credit on their defense,” Montgomery said. “We didn’t have the poise and patience to get the shots we wanted.”

The Huskies had a breakout performance from freshman guard Justin Thomas, who paced the Huskies with 14 points and five rebounds in just 21 minutes.

Montgomery said he was happy with the performance from the freshman guard, and was especially impressed with his efforts on defense.

“[Thomas] came in and definitely played a good game,” Montgomery said. “He was definitely a positive coming out of this game and hopefully this will only build his confidence going forward to provide that spark off the bench.”

On Nov. 11, the Huskies defeated the Sycamores, 80-78, in overtime to get their first win of the year. The Sycamores tied the season series tonight with their win over the Huskies.

The Huskies will have a lengthy break from games to figure out why they are 1-4 in their last five games, as they do not play until 4 p.m. December 11th against the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.