Inconsistency results in loss

Mark Montgomery Head Coach

By Krystal Ward

Huskies lose; preps to host tournament

NORTHRIDGE, California | Men’s basketball (3-1) fell, 84-82, to the California State University-Northridge Matadors in a nail-biter Saturday night.“It was a game of runs, but it seemed like we controlled the game, but we just didn’t close it out,” said Head Coach Mark Montgomery. “The last four or five minutes, there was a loose rebound we didn’t get, an unfortunate block [foul] on Marin [Maric], but we still had our opportunities.”The Matadors took a 72-70 lead with four minutes left in the second half. Sophomore guard Laytwan Porter hit two three-pointers to cut the lead to 83-81 with eight seconds left in the game, but the Matadors were able to hold on for the victory.

Porter led the Huskies with a career-high 19 points and shot 6-10 from the field. Porter also hit all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Senior center Marin Maric and sophomore forward Jaylen Key both scored 14 points. Key scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half.

Freshman forward Noah McCarty saw his first action of the season, playing 10 minutes and grabbing six rebounds.

NIU Thanksgiving Classic

NIU will host its Thanksgiving Classic Wednesday through Saturday, with no games on Thanksgiving Day. Wednesday’s game against California Polytechnic State University and Saturday’s game against University of Illinois at Chicago will broadcast on ESPN3.

California Polytechnic State University

The Huskies will face the California Poly Mustangs 7 p.m. Wednesday for their first matchup of the tournament. The last time the two teams met was Nov. 11, 2007, when the Huskies fell 88-78 to the Mustangs. NIU leads the all-time series, 2-1.

Redshirt senior guard Kyle Toth leads the Mustangs in scoring with 14.8 points per game and is shooting 60 percent from the three-point line.

Elon University

NIU faces the Elon University Phoenix (2-1) 1 p.m. Friday in the first matchup between the Huskies and the Phoenix.

Elon is a part of the Colonial Athletic Association conference. The university has finished below .500 the past two seasons.

The Phoenix are averaging nine steals per game and out-rebounding their opponents by a margin of five. This could be a battle on the boards as NIU is also out-rebounding its opponents by five boards this season.

University of Illinois at Chicago

NIU will wrap up the Thanksgiving Classic 3:30 p.m. Saturday against the Illinois-Chicago Flames. The Huskies trail the all-time series, 16-23. NIU has only picked up three wins in its past 10 games against the Flames, but the Huskies won the last matchup, 70-65, on Dec. 29.

The Flames are shooting 49 percent this season and holding opponents to only 41 percent and out-rebounding by their opponents by a margin of 11.

Sophomore forward Dikembe Dixson is averaging 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and beyond the arc for the Flames this season.