Defense leads to another NIU win

By Christopher Loggins

A strong defensive showing helped men’s basketball defeat Bowling Green State University 71-60 on Tuesday to give it 18 wins, its most in a season since 1995 when it won 20.

The Huskies had three players score in double figures for the game, led by junior guard Aaric Armstead, who scored 14 points in 31 minutes. Freshman guard Marshawn Wilson followed with 12 points and sophomore center Marin Maric poured in 10 points of his own.

NIU outworked the Falcons in almost every statistical category except offensive rebounds and free throws. Bowling Green outrebounded the Huskies on the offensive glass 13-10 and shot 16-22 from the free throw line while the Huskies shot 8-10.

Bowling Green shot just 32 percent for the game, going 18-55 from the field. The team shot under 30 percent in the second half and never held a lead in the game. NIU’s largest lead of the day was 18, shooting 43 percent for the game and 47 percent from three.

Junior guard Wes Alcegaire and senior forward Spencer Parker led the way for the Falcons, scoring 14 points each. Freshman guard Antwon Lillard scored 13.

Senior guard Travon Baker scored just six points for NIU but achieved two feats in the contest. Baker became the all-time leader for games played for men’s basketball with 118 and picked up his 333rd career assist, good for third on NIU’s all-time list. Maric got his fifth-straight double double in the game as the Huskies won their second consecutive game after a tough losing streak.

“When we had patience and we shared the ball, we were very effective,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “I thought we got sloppy at times, but all-in-all a lot of guys contributed and we got a lot of good basketball out of a number of players.

“It was good to see Marin Maric get another double-double, Aaric Armstead continues to play well and Marshawn Wilson gave us a big boost in the first half.”

NIU’s next game will take place against Ball State at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Muncie, Ind. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.