Men’s basketball drowns Lakers

By Steve Shonder

Men’s basketball set the tone early and never looked back in a lopsided win over Roosevelt.

The Huskies flattened the Roosevelt Lakers, 71-44, Saturday at the Convocation Center. NIU opened the game with a 17-0 run in the first nine minutes, forcing seven turnovers during its run.

Head coach Mark Montgomery said the team drove to the rim consistently but didn’t execute as well as he wanted. The Huskies scored 17 second-chance points, most of which came off missed layups in transition.

“I liked how we got to the basket,” Montgomery said. “I don’t like that we missed so many layups. I liked how we got to the free-throw line, but unfortunately I don’t like how we missed so many free throws. So, it takes time. You got a new team, new players, guys are still getting used to each other, but I do like that we had more assists than turnovers. We really took care of the ball in the second half. It’s a start.”

The Huskies shot 38.2 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from the free throw line. They did make improvements in shooting the ball in the second half. Junior guard Travon Baker, who led the team in minutes and had seven assists, said he knows the offense is a work in progress.

“We’re just working every day,” Baker said. “This is our first exhibition game. So, we’re just trying to find our rhythm, and I know we can shoot better than this.”

The Huskies ran a full-court press that wreaked havoc on Roosevelt. The Lakers had 24 turnovers, which led to 24 points for the Huskies.

“I think our full-court pressure did, maybe, bother them or slow them down a little bit, but I want our guys to get used to doing that for 40 minutes,” Montgomery said. “It’s good we did it against somebody else because they have different ways to break a press, but I do like how we came out aggressive” Saturday.

Roosevelt was led by junior Joe Harks, who scored 11 points, with 10 points coming in the second half. The Lakers put together a strong second half, but the Huskies were able match them and prevent any runs.

Redshirt senior center Jordan Threloff put up a double-double with a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Aaric Armstead chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds.

Still holding onto their defensive prowess, the Huskies have to focus on getting more in tune with an up-tempo playing style, which should have led to more baskets than it did.

“We’re still working on getting comfortable,” Threloff said. “We’re running hard, and we’re trying to get fast break layups, and we just have to knock our shots down.”