Huskies put down in Miami


NIU guard Antone Christian struggled Wednesday night, scoring only two points.

By Andrew Singer

Playing in Oxford, Ohio on Wednesday night, the NIU men’s basketball team went down quietly to Miami (OH), 84-72.

NIU (7-15 overall, 3-7 MAC) never led and trailed by double-digits for much of the night. Miami (12-12, 7-3) put the game out of reach for the visiting Huskies after going on a 14-2 run to start the second half.

Due to a hamstring injury sustained earlier in the week by Bryan Hall, NIU was playing without its starting point guard. Playing in place of Hall, Michael Patton finished with nine points.

“We are just so close right now,” said Jeremy Landers, who finished with 13 points. “But it’s tough when we’re playing without our starting point guard. That said, Patton did a nice job for us tonight.”

Shooting guard Xavier Silas led the Huskies, the senior dropped 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Returning from injury on Wednesday night, freshman forward Nate Rucker had nine points and two rebounds.

The RedHawks jumped out of the gate, outscoring NIU 14-3 in the opening minutes. NIU head coach Ricardo Patton called a timeout after the early Miami run. Coming out of the timeout, the Huskies embarked on a 14-3 run that ended with a Tim Toler three-point shot that tied the score at 17.

Going right back down the floor, the RedHawks’ Chris McHenry drilled a three-point shot that put Miami right back in front. The Huskies stayed within three points until Allen Roberts sank a three-point shot at the buzzer to give the RedHawks a six-point advantage going into the locker room. Roberts went 3-for-4 from outside the arc and finished with a game-high 23 points.

“The late three-point shot was due to a turnover and we explained that to our guys,” Patton said. “So, the shot didn’t sink our morale at all. Our guys knew how it happened.”

NIU got to within four after the opening bucket of the second half, but got no closer. Miami shot 45 percent from three-point range to keep the Huskies at bay.

“The three-point shooting hurt us, but they shot well in the post too,” Patton said. “It has to come down to guys taking defensive responsibility for their guy, but we aren’t getting that right now.”