Huskies unable to hold off Eastern Michigan

By Matt Hopkinson

Despite holding a one-time 13 point lead, NIU men’s basketball came up short against Eastern Michigan Wednesday losing 48-45.

The Huskies (3-23, 2-11 MAC) led Eastern Michigan (12-16, 7-6 MAC) in many key statistical categories such as rebounds 42-28, points in the paint 16-12, and second chance points 12-6.

Although they led in those categories, Eastern Michigan was led by senior guard Darrell Lampley, who led the game in scoring with 21 points, sinking 9-11 free throws.

“He’s a tough and heady guard,” said NIU sophomore Aksel Bolin. “He hit some big shots for them; that’s what he does. Some were almost unbelievable. He hit a lot of long threes in our face. I think he got away with some calls. He got to the line pretty easily.”

While Lampley came through for Eastern Michigan, NIU shot 19 percent from the three-point line on 4-21 attempts.

The Huskies were led in scoring by freshman forward Abdel Nader and junior guard Tony Nixon, each with 10 points.

NIU coach Mark Montgomery said the team put forth good effort, but got didn’t hit the shots they needed to at the right time.

“Our guys competed to the end,” Mongotmery said. “Unfortunately, we got cold late in the ball-game and they made enough plays to win the game. We made our run and then Eastern Michigan made their run, but theirs decided the game.”

The large volume of three-point shots allowed the Huskies to collect 17 offensive rebounds, but could only muster 12 second chance points from those extra possessions. NIU was also plagued by sloppy ball control, committing 17 turnovers, accounting for 18 Eastern Michigan points from those turnovers.

“We struggled playing offensively,” Bolin said. “We had some sloppy turnovers and our shots didn’t fall. That allowed them to get going a little bit with some fast break points.”

As Eastern Michigan made its run at just under the half way point of the second half coming back from 39-29, Bolin said NIU struggled in many facets of the game down the stretch.

“We were sloppy with the ball. I don’t know why,” Bolin said. “The momentum of the game changed a little bit. They got their fans going and we maybe got a little bit intimidated. They got it going offensively and hit a lot of big shots. Their big guys got to the free throw line and made almost all their shots.”