Attendance increases as Huskies stay perfect at home


Sophomore center Marin Maric pumps up the crowd late in the game. Maric scored 12 to aid the Huskies in the comeback win over Central Michigan 75-70 on Tuesday night.

By Krystal Ward

Men’s basketball (15-3, 4-1 MAC) overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat Central Michigan (9-9, 2-3 MAC) 75-70 on Tuesday night.

Neither of the Huskies’ first two home games reached attendance of over 1,000 people, but the last two games at the Convocation Center have reached 1,349 and 1,497 people in attendance, respectively.

The Chippewas led for the majority of the first half as freshman guard Marshawn Wilson and junior guard Michael Orris both picked up two early fouls for the Huskies. The visitors went on a 12-3 run to take a 23-16 lead with 8:46 to play in the first half.

Back-to-back triples from senior guard Travon Baker and freshman wing Levi Bradley cut Central Michigan’s lead to 38-26 with just more than five minutes left before the half. NIU closed the half on an 8-1 run that cut the Chippewas’ lead to 41-34.

Baker and sophomore center Marin Maric converted layups on the first two possessions of the second half to trim CMU’s lead to three, 41-38. The Huskies went on a 10-2 run and took a 44-43 lead with 15:46 to play in the game.

NIU led 59-50 with less than 10 minutes remaining after going on a 7-0 run that included a triple from Wilson. The Chippewas were in the bonus with 9:48 left in the game.

Three Huskies were in foul trouble with less than eight minutes to play in the game. Junior guard Aaric Armstead, Orris and Maric all had four fouls.

NIU led 71-64 after going on another 7-0 run with 43.3 seconds left and held on to the lead to secure the victory and remain perfect at home.

Baker had a game-high 19 points after being ejected from last Saturday’s loss to Western Michigan. Bradley scored 14 points in 16 minutes on 6-9 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds.

The Huskies shot 48.4 percent (30-62) for the game, holding the Chippewas to 44 percent (22-50) shooting. Neither team shot well on three pointers – NIU converted 21.1 percent (4-19) of its attempts while CMU hit 34.5 percent (10-29) of its attempts.

Both teams shot well from the free throw line. Central Michigan converted 69.6 percent (16-23) of its attempts and the home team converted 55 percent (11-20) of its chances.

NIU scored 18 points off of 16 CMU turnovers and held the edge in points in the paint 44-26, second-chance points 14-4, fast-break points 20-10 and bench points 28-14.

Central Michigan senior guard Chris Fowler led CMU with 16 points. Sophomore forward Luke Meyer nearly had a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds for the Chippewas.

“I can’t say we played great in the first half,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery, according to an NIU Athletics news release. “Central Michigan came out and punched us in the face. They made threes and our defense was on our heels. But we regrouped, that’s why you play 40 minutes of basketball. I thought we were a lot more aggressive on the defense end, a lot more sound.

“We shared the basketball, we got out in transition and it was a typical MAC game. It seems like every MAC game is a five-point game. I just thought we made a few more plays, especially down the stretch, to win the game.”