Huskies lead Cougars at halftime in DeKalb

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Jarrett Huff | Northern Star

Halftime at the NIU Convocation Center Dec. 18, in DeKalb.

Jarrett Huff

DeKALB — At halftime in men’s basketball’s final non-conference game of the season Friday, the Huskies hold a nine-point lead over the Chicago State Cougars.

Sophomore guard Kaleb Thornton got the start over junior guard Darius Beane and got to work early, giving the Huskies some momentum with a two-handed breakaway slam. NIU was up 7-0 to start the game.

Chicago State was finally able to get the lid off the basket with 16:35 remaining in the half off a three from senior guard Xavier Johnson. By the first timeout with 15:01 remaining, the Cougars had capped off a 7-2 run.

At 13:15, Johnson would hit a contested 3-pointer in the corner to give the Cougars their first lead of the half at 12-11. That lead would be short-lived as sophomore guard Tyler Cochran was able to get a tough shot to go inside, picking up the and-one foul. Cochran completed the three-point play to put the Huskies up two at 14-12.

With under seven minutes remaining in the half, Chicago State sophomore guard Rajeir Jones hit a three to tie the game at 16. NIU junior center Adong Makuoi would come back on the other end by securing an offensive board for a tough and-one layup. On the next time down, Beane would find Makuoi for an emphatic jam. Junior guard Trendon Hankerson added to the run with a 3-point shot.

Going into the timeout with 3:21 remaining, NIU was leading 26-16 off a 10-0 run.

At the half NIU holds a 32-23 lead over Chicago State. The second half can be viewed on ESPN3.