Men’s basketball takes first MAC win after buzzer-beater from Darius Beane


Patrick Murphy

NIU junior guard Darius Beane, second from left, attempts a close jumpsuit off the dribble Jan. 2, during NIU’s 68-42 loss to Bowling Green State University at the NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb. Beane would hit the game winning-shot in the game against the University of Akron Zips Tuesday.

By Kyle Mathas

DeKalb — The Huskies took a big win after a buzzer-beating shot from junior guard Darius Beane with only a second left Tuesday, defeating the University of Akron Zips 67-65.

The Huskies have struggled to close games out this season, blowing second-half leads in games against Ball State University and the University of Illinois–Chicago. The Huskies had the lead for the majority of the second half and were able to close out the game with a two-point win. 

Beane went over the decision to take the last shot during the postgame press conference.

“It was kind of a tough night shooting the ball, so I didn’t want to force it on the last shot. I told my teammates, ‘I’m going to shoot this one’ and it went in,” Beane said.

The Huskies were led by junior guard Trendon Hankerson and junior power forward Justin Lee who both had 15 points. Hankerson shot 50% from 3-point land and Lee grabbed 11 rebounds and got a double-double. Junior forward Chinedu Kingsley-Okanu had 10 points and six rebounds, and Beane, who hit the game winning shot, had six points. 

Hankerson has scored double-digit points in four of the last five games he has played in.

“I think that I am more relaxed and focused on my role,” Hankerson said. “Also, my teammates find me when I’m open which is a huge part of my scoring.”

Akron was led by sophomore power forward Ali Ali who had 15 points and made four 3-point shots. Junior guard Bryan Trimble Jr. had 12 points on the day. 

The Huskies were up 65-60 with a little over a minute to play. Akron hit a 3-pointer from Ali to cut the lead to two points, 65-63. NIU, after using the whole 35-second shot clock, missed the shot. 

Akron came back down the floor and senior guard Loren Cristian Jackson hit a layup with six seconds to play, making the score 65-65. The Huskies inbounded it to Hankerson who passed it to Beane, who then hit the game-winning jumper from the top of the key and the Huskies took home the victory 67-65. 

This gives the NIU interim Head Coach Lamar Chapman his first win as head coach for the Huskies. 

“At halftime we tried to work on our defense, getting our rebounds and especially moving the ball. Our starters stepped up and we got contributions from everybody today,” Chapman said. “I am so proud of the way this team performed.”

Sophomore guard Tyler Cochran did not play due to a hamstring strain he endured during the game against the Bowling Green State University Falcons on Jan. 2.

“It’s day to day with him. We have to follow protocol with Cochran because we don’t want him to come back and get injured even worse,” Chapman said. “We will try to get him back onto the court for practice next week sometime.” 

With the win, the Huskies improve to 2-9 on the season, and 1-5 in Mid-American Conference play.

The Huskies will go on the road to play the Ball State University Cardinals at noon Saturday in Muncie, IN. The game can be streamed through ESPN+.