Late run by Huskies falls short of road win

Men’s basketball sits on three consecutive losses after its latest losing bout in Ohio Tuesday.

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

DeKALB — Men’s basketball extended its losing streak to three after falling to Ohio University on the road in Athens, Ohio 74-62 Tuesday.

Bobcats sophomore guard Mark Spears played for the entire 40 minutes and led all scorers with 26 points, shooting 58.3%.

In the first half, both teams played slowly because they couldn’t score around the basket. The Huskies contained the Bobcats for the first ten minutes. despite having a disadvantage at height.

After the ten minute mark, Ohio went on a 17-2 run that lasted four minutes.​​ This run saw Ohio knock in eight free throws. NIU got into foul trouble quickly as Ohio was too much on the offensive side of the ball.

Spears shot five free throws in the first half and had eight points in the paint. He led all scorers with 13 points with four assists at halftime.

The Bobcats went 13-28 from the field, shooting 46.4%. Their points mainly came from the paint, where they recorded 18 points. They also had 11 points off Huskie turnovers and distributed the ball well with eight assists.

The Huskies went 7-31 from the field, shooting 33.3%. They also went 0-6 from the three-point line. After a terrible shooting performance in the first half, NIU hoped to have a better performance in the second half and limit their turnovers. The Huskies had nine turnovers.

“We got soft with the ball, careless, and lost focus,” head coach Rashon Burno said on Huskie Sports Radio Network. “We also have to do a better job at guarding without fouling.”

NIU finished the first half down 22-41. Sophomore guard Keshawn Williams led the Huskies in points scored with eight points.

In the second half, Ohio continued to attack the paint because NIU was doing poorly in protection. Spears continued to get easy buckets around the basket and the free-throw line. Spears shot seven free throws in the second half and ended the game with 11-12 shooting from the line.

Ohio took their biggest lead of the game 70-42 with 7:27 left in the game. A timeout called by the officials with Ohio leading and the Huskies would attempt to seek a comeback.

The Huskies went on a 15-0 run that lasted just over five minutes behind a great defensive stance and the ability to make plays in transition.

“It’s a testament to their toughness and we talked about that coming out of halftime,” Burno said. “We are always going to go out and compete despite the outcome.”

The Huskies had a great second half shooting 48.5% from the field and recording 22 points in the paint. They also had significant contributions off the bench with players such as Williams, freshman guard Zion Russell and senior forwards Chinedu Kingsley Okanu and Zool Kueth scoring.

The Huskies lost this game despite a late run that brought them within 12 to finish 74-62. NIU now has an overall record of 2-4 in the Mid-American Conference.

The Huskies will be back home Thursday as they play against Ball State University at 7 p.m in DeKalb. The game will be available on ESPN3.