Fens helps NIU sneak into second place


The Western Illinois Leathernecks fell victim to fate last night bowing to the NIU men’s basketball team 74-66. The victory puts WIU in the Huskie record book as the 300th opponent to fall to an NIU men’s team in Chick Evans Fieldhouse.

Chick Evans has been good to the Huskies as they have own a 10-2 record in the friendly confines of “home, sweet home.”

Randy Tucker, Mike Lipnisky, Hubert Register and Randy Fens all delivered 15 point performances and all stepped up their games at key moments to bring the team to victory in come from behind fashion.

Head coach Brian Hammel credited Register’s ability to control the boards to keep the Huskies in the game.

“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think we’d have gotten a rebound in the first half,” he stated.

It was a good thing too. Falling behind by double digits is something that drives coaches nuts, the Huskies did it twice.

Falling behind by 11 in the first half, Register and Tucker combined to trim the deficit to a mere two by the half. But the second half started the same way as the first with the team quickly trailing by ten.

“We really put ourselves in a whole, but our starters stepped it up and played great,” coach Hammel said.

What happened was a complete turnaround. Spurred by a crowd of 2,253, the squad went on a torrid 27-4 run in a nine span. Aided by five Western turnovers, a Tucker three pointer followed by a turnaround jump shot by Register and lay-ups by Fens and Lipnisky Northern took the lead and held on to stay there. All WIU was able to salvage was a dubious record.

The Leathernecks fell to 7-16 overall and 4-9 in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Meanwhile, the Huskies slingshot themselves into the second place position in the Mid-Con with the help of a 76-66 victory by the Fighting Phoenix of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The Wright State Raiders fell to 8-5 in the conference, and the Huskies took outright possession of second by moving their record up to 8-4 and 13-9 overall.

The Huskies will go on a two-game road trip starting on Saturday when they travel to Dayton for a battle with the Raiders of Wright State and then to Green Bay on Monday for a contest with the Fighting Phoenix.