German’s 23 in the second half not enough to complete comeback

Senior+guard+Eugene+German+plays+off+the+ball+Feb.+22+during+NIU%27s+82-81+win+over+Central+Michigan+University+at+the+Convocation+Center.

Quentin Wilson | Northern Star

Senior guard Eugene German plays off the ball Feb. 22 during NIU's 82-81 win over Central Michigan University at the Convocation Center.

Mike Knapp, Reporter

DeKALB — For the second straight road game, the men’s basketball team found itself facing a huge deficit, but this time couldn’t finish off the comeback Saturday night.

After falling behind Tuesday by 17 points and coming back to beat Eastern Michigan University, the Huskies traveled to Western Michigan University and found themselves in the same situation.

Down 18 points in the second half, NIU roared back to tie the game late, but a 3-pointer by senior guard Jared Printy with five seconds to go gave WMU the 72-69 win.

“This team has a lot of heart,” Head Coach Mark Montgomery said in an NIU news release. “When you come back from down 18, we had a spirited huddle, and we decided to come out of that huddle and get stops. It was fun to coach that last eight minutes; I just wish we could have gotten one more stop and taken it to overtime.”

With senior guard Eugene German sitting out the first half after violating an undisclosed team policy, the Huskies struggled to find scoring.

NIU scored just 11 points in the first half and eventually fell behind 32-24 at the break.

German entered the game to start the second half, but the Broncos unleashed a 19-5 run in the middle part of the half that pushed their lead to 61-43 with just under eight minutes to go in the game.

That’s when the NIU comeback began.

The Huskies responded with a 16-1 run of their own, and eventually tied the game at 69-all on a layup by German with 33 seconds to go.

Following Printy’s 3-pointer, the Huskies had one more chance to tie the game, but German’s 3-pointer at the buzzer missed.

Despite not playing the first half, German finished the night with a game-high 23 points, while redshirt senior forward Lacey James and sophomore guard Darius Beane tossed in 11 apiece.

Junior guard Michael Flowers and redshirt junior Brandon Johnson led WMU with 20 points each.

The Huskies, who fell to 17-12 overall and 10-6 in Mid-American Conference play, didn’t lose any ground in their quest to win the MAC West division title with the loss as Ball State University also lost, leaving NIU with a one-game lead over the Cardinals with two games to play.

The Huskies and Cardinals will meet in the MAC conference finale Friday in DeKalb, but in between, the University of Toledo will visit the Huskies 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Convocation Center.

The game will be streamed online on ESPN+.