NIU men’s basketball: Huskies beat Miami (Ohio) on Travon Baker’s game-winner

By Steve Shonder

What happened

Men’s basketball (9-11, 3-6 MAC) picked up its second road win and ended a three-game losing streak with a come-from-behind victory over the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks (8-14, 3-6 MAC), 69-67, Wednesday at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio.

How it happened

The 3-pointer, which hasn’t been the Huskies’ strong suit this season, was the path to victory. NIU went 5-11 from beyond the arc in the second half, with its two biggest shots coming in the final two minutes.

With the Huskies down 67-61 and 1:45 remaining, junior Travon Baker hit a 3-pointer to cut the RedHawks’ lead to three. On the next possession, senior Aaron Armstead hit a 3-pointer from the corner off an assist from Baker to tie the game up at 67. Miami junior Geovonie McKnight tried to respond with a jumper, but it missed.

The offense turned to Baker again, and he responded by driving home the game-winning layup with just 2.4 seconds left on the clock.

It was a close game throughout, but heading into the half, Miami put together a 12-2 run, leaving the Huskies facing a six-point deficit. That six-point lead was the largest lead of the game for Miami, while the Huskies’ largest lead was four points.

The number: 52.3

That’s the Huskies’ shooting percentage for the game. They shot the ball well in the first half at 47.4 percent, but they came out in the second half firing on all cylinders. NIU made 56 percent of its second-half shots.

Northern Star players of the game

Miami junior Geovonie McKnight put up a game-high 18 points for the RedHawks. When Miami needed a score it turned to McKnight. He only missed two shots all night.

Junior Travon Baker came up huge when he was needed. He went 6-7 from the field with 16 points, including the game-winning layup in the final seconds. Baker also had five assists and a pair of steals.

The quotes

“We only won here three times in 22 times in Miami,” said head coach Mark Montgomery. “Getting a win here is huge. We needed some momentum. We needed some confidence. It’s a huge win.

“After you come off a couple-game losing streak, you need something to grab onto. Getting a win in a tough environment gives you the confidence to start something for us, hopefully in the nine games” left in the regular season.

“I loved how we came out [to] start the second half on [a] 7-0 run,” Montgomery said. “At the same time, we got defensive stops. I like how we started [the] game, how we started [the] half. I told the guys in the locker room I didn’t like how we ended that half. The 8-0 run at [the] end definitely made up for it.”

Up next

The Huskies return home to take on the Bowling Green Falcons 7 p.m. Saturday at the Convocation Center.