Men’s basketball drops sixth-straight game

By Brian Belford

The only word to describe NIU’s 65-40 loss to the Bowling Green Falcons Saturday is ugly.

Ugly it was as the Huskies (2-19, 1-8) dropped their sixth-straight game in-a-row, their 11th double digit loss this season. NIU failed to score more than 50 points for the seventh time this year, and had three starters foul out of the game.

Bowling Green (11-11, 5-4) was in control of the game from the tip-off until the final buzzer. The Falcons scored the first 10 points of the game, and went on an 18-1 run, going eight for 11 from the field, paving their way to a 41-16 halftime lead.

NIU coach Mark Montgomery has talked before about preventing his team from getting off to a slow start, and scoring 16 points in a half spelled doom for the young Huskies.

“It was disappointing the way we started the game,” Montgomery said. “How you start the game is so important and it just looked like we were running in quicksand.”

Falcons’ guard Jordan Crawford led all scorers with 15 points and six assists. Bowling Green forward Scott Thomas had 14 points and nine rebounds, as the Falcons shot 48 percent from the field.

The Falcons didn’t let up in the second half either, and maintained a double digit lead throughout the game. Bowling Green held the Huskies under 30 percent shooting. The Falcons defense caused 16 NIU turnovers, while only turning the ball over nine times themselves.

The Falcons led in almost every statistical category, especially in free throw attempts. Bowling Green capitalized on 27 NIU fouls, as it attempted 34 foul shots, making 21 of them.

NIU’s Adbel Nader scored eight points and had 10 rebounds. Fellow Huskies Aksel Bolin and Stian Berg both finished with nine points to lead all Huskies, but not a single NIU player managed to score in double digits.

The Huskies were able to match Bowling Green’s point total in the second half with each team scoring 24 points. NIU held the Falcons to five field goals on 31.3 percent (5-of-16) shooting.

The excess fouls made up for Bowling Green’s lack of field goals in the second half with a 13-3 advantage at the free-throw line. Nader, and Keith and Kevin Gray all fouled out in the second half.

NIU did play better in the second half, and showed improvement, but the damage had already been done.

“When you work on things in practice, you want to see your guys execute them in games,” Montgomery sad. “In the second half, we got the ball into the high-post, turned around and made plays. We just didn’t get going in the first half.”