Huskies have role reversal, defeating Western Michigan, 71-52


It was role reversal night at the Convocation Center Wednesday as NIU defeated Western Michigan 78-63.

On Jan. 17th, the Broncos lit up the Huskies on 14-28 three-point shooting en route to a 71-52 victory in Kalamazoo, Mich.

But on Wednesday night it would be the Huskies shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc, nailing 12 treys with nine of them coming from Darion ‘Jake’ Anderson and Michael Patton.

It could not have been something in the air that was helping shots go in, as the Broncos shot 10 percent (2-20) from the field and were 0-9 from three-point range in the first half. Even Broncos’ leading scorer David Kool couldn’t get anything going, shooting 1-8 from the floor.

“I’m not quite sure I’ve seen that before, nor would I have thought that would have happened,” said head coach Ricardo Patton of the Broncos’ cold spell. “I felt it was as good a defensive basketball we could have played and so that was what allowed us to win the ballgame.”

Patton wasn’t the only one on the sidelines observing such an oddity.

“We’ve had some strange games here lately, but I can’t remember a game, since I’ve been here, where we only had two field goals in one half,” Broncos head coach Steve Hawkins said.

The poor shooting may have been affected by a team meeting NIU held after their victory against Southeastern Missouri. The topic of discussion was what kind of defense NIU wanted to start priding themselves on.

“When we look at all the good mid-majors like Butler and Davidson, they’re playing man-to-man defense,” said Michael Patton, who scored a season-high 14 points. “So if we want to be that caliber, that’s what we gotta do.”

Michael Patton’s big performance was a much needed lift for the Huskies, especially with Anderson in early foul trouble in the first half. But Anderson reaped the benefits of the Broncos having to worry about another perimeter shooter. He finished with a team-high 26 points on 7-12 shooting.

“Jake always brings scoring to the team,” Michael Patton said. “I think just me having a good shooting night enabled him to get more open looks.”

The Huskies led by as much as 19 points in the second half, but the Broncos got within eight after a Kool field goal with 14:08 remaining. But a Patton 3-pointer would put the Huskies back up by 11 and the Broncos never got within single digits again.

“I felt like they smelled blood and they smelled our weakness. They extended their defense and it forced our offense further and further out onto the floor and we looked weaker and weaker,” Stevens said. “I thought they fed off that.”