Men’s basketball struggles, falls against Purdue


Aksel Bolin reaches to make a basket while Purdue’s defense tries to tip the ball out of his hand in a 2011 game. As of July 8, Bolin had 12 points in two games for Norway in the World University Games and will look to lead the Huskies during his senior season in 2013-14.

By Brian Thomas

There was not one empty seat in Mackey Arena as NIU men’s basketball took on Purdue for the season opener.

It was an ugly result for the Huskies (0-1) as they fell to the Boilermakers (1-0), 96-34.

The 62-point win was the largest margin of victory for Purdue in the last 100 years.

“I thought the NBA was on strike, but obviously we ran into a good team,” said Mark Montgomery, NIU head men’s basketball coach. “Matt Painter is a really good head coach. His team always plays hard. I was happy to see Robbie Hummel come out. I didn’t hope he would be this good, but he definitely got them started and they will be a good ball club this season.”

The Boilermakers came out of the gates ready to play, going on an 18-2 run in the first seven minutes of the game, and the Huskies could not stop them.

NIU freshman Abdel Nader hit the lone basket during that stretch.

Purdue hit four three’s to start off the game, which would be a reoccurring theme throughout the game. Two of them came from Hummel.

Hummel led Purdue with a game-high 21 points while going 5-7 from three-point land in just 20 minutes of play. It was his first game since February.

“I was just looking to get back out there, get kind-of back into the flow of playing again,” Hummel said. “The guys did a good job of finding me when I was open and screening for me. I thought it was a great team effort tonight and I think we will build on this.”

NIU senior Tim Toler was a lone bright spot as he put up 11 points in the first half, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to make the score 46-20, Purdue.

Purdue came out just as hot in the second half, as they went on a 12-4 run in the first three minutes on three three-pointers.

Purdue was most effective from three and would end up shooting 14-28.

“I thought Northern Illinois would do a good job of stopping the basketball and really emphasizing keeping the ball in front of them,” Painter said. “We really emphasized penetrate and pitch, and moving, getting our feet set and knocking them down. I thought we did a good job with that. We only had nine turnovers and then we went 14-28 from three.”

After putting up 20 points in the first half, NIU’s offense struggled even more in the second half, putting up just 14 points.

The Huskies went from the 10:42 mark to the 0:11 mark without making a shot from the field.

NIU would only make six shots in the second half, as well as one made free throw.

A lot of this was due in part to the pressure defense of the Boilermakers as they forced the Huskies to make 28 turnovers.

“You have to credit their defense,” Montgomery said. “They did cause some of them and at the same time we have a young team. We just have to break, get open and be stronger with the ball.”