Men’s basketball suffers first loss

By Krystal Ward

Men’s basketball (7-1, 0-0 MAC) suffered its first defeat of the season, losing to Missouri (4-3) 78-71 on Friday.

It was an unusual start for NIU as Missouri stormed out to an early 12-0 lead just four minutes into the game. The Huskies’ defense stepped up and kept the Tigers scoreless for four minutes, but still struggled to score as it managed just four points with 11:49 to play in the first half.

The Huskies continued to claw away at Missouri’s lead as freshman guard Marshawn Wilson tied the game at 22 apiece on a three-pointer with about two minutes left in the first half. It was one of three triples he connected on in the first period. NIU trailed just 27-26 at the half after a rough start.

Wilson scored a career high 24 points in 27 minutes, shooting 5-12 from the field, 4-9 on three pointers and making all 10 of his free-throw attempts. Sophomore center Marin Maric scored 14 points on 5-13 shooting from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Guards Travon Baker and Aaric Armstead contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Both teams traded baskets to start the second half until the Tigers started getting the ball inside to take a 45-41 lead with 12:15 left to play in the game. Missouri went on a 13-4 run with 6:53 remaining in the game, leading 60-50 and eventually holding on for a seven-point win.

The Tigers held the Huskies to 34.9 percent (22-63) shooting from the field and shot 53.8 percent (28-52). NIU scored 16 points off of 15 Missouri turnovers and its bench contributed 32 points. It was the first time the Huskies have been outrebounded this season as Missouri edged them 38-34.

“It was a very competitive game,” said head coach Mark Montgomery according to a NIU Athletics news release. “I liked the tempo more in the first half where it was 26-27. We didn’t get off to the best start, but credit Missouri’s defense — I thought they came out and punched us in the face. I give our guys credit, they responded to be down just one at halftime. I thought both teams played hard, Missouri just made a few more plays, unfortunately for us. We had four guys in double figures, we battled on the glass, 17 offensive rebounds is impressive because sometimes we were small out there, but Missouri had the answer.”

The Huskies’ next game will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 16 in Columbus as they face off against Ohio State. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.