Men’s basketball had successful winter break

By Brian Earle

While everyone was away for winter break, men’s basketball continued its season, playing in seven games.

The Huskies (7-7, 1-1 MAC) fared well in those games, going 4-3 and earning their first MAC victory of the season with a 45-36 win over Bowling Green today.

The Huskies began their conference play with a 67-46 loss on the road at Buffalo on Wednesday. They got off to a slow start, finding themselves down 16-0, which was too big of a deficit for them to come back from.

They began their winter break schedule with an 80-54 loss to then-ranked No. 22 Massachusetts. The Minutemen used a strong second half to pull away from the Huskies as they outscored them 36-19 in the final 14 minutes of the game.

Following that loss, the Huskies went on a two-game winning streak, taking down Loyola, 55-49, and UC Riverside, 71-64.

The Huskies trailed Loyola by 14 at the half but were able to come back as they outscored the Ramblers 41-21 in the second half.

In the Huskies’ victory over UC Riverside, they were led by freshman Dontel Highsmith, who scored a career-high 27 points in the win. He went 9-11 from the field and hit three 3-pointers. In the process, the Huskies shot a season-best 77.1 percent from the free-throw line.

NIU faced another strong test in then-No. 13 ranked Iowa State as they fell to the Cyclones, 99-63. The Cyclones beat the Huskies with the three-ball, hitting 11 3-pointers in the contest. Highsmith was again the leading scorer for the Huskies with 19 points.

In the Huskies’ final non-conference game of the season, they defeated Bethune-Cookman, 65-51. The Huskies had three players score in double figures with freshman guard Aaric Armstead leading the way with a career-high 11 points. Sophomore wing Darrell Bowie had 11 points while junior guard Aaron Armstead added 10 points.