Late air ball leaves Huskies with loss

Contributions from NIU’s bench come up short at home


Zulfiqar Ahmed

Akron sophomore wing Ali Ali (left) plays man defense against senior guard Anthony Crump during Tuesday night’s Mid-American Conference matchup at the Convocation center in DeKalb. Crump finished the game third in NIU scoring, recording 11 points in their 70-54 defeat at home. (Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star)

By DeOndre Saunders, Sports Reporter

Huskies lose close game at home

The men’s basketball team was defeated 78-75 by the Miami University at Ohio RedHawks Saturday in a close game at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.

How it happened

Both teams’ benches contributed well in the first half. NIU had 19 bench points compared to Miami’s 14. Junior guard Darweshi Hunter was a great contributor off the bench as he had eight points. Hunter came in the game and hit two 3-pointers. Senior forward Chinedu Kingsley Okanu also contributed with all eight of his points coming from inside the paint.

The Huskies shot proficiently at 50% from the field and 36.4% from the three-point line in the first half. NIU hit tough shots over defenders and scored tough baskets in the paint.

The RedHawks also shot well in the first half at 51.7% from the field and 50% from the three-point line. NIU didn’t do well defensively on Miami as they left shooters open and couldn’t stop players from scoring in the paint. Miami scored 20 points in the paint in the first half.

NIU was leading at the half 38-37. Senior guard Trendon Hankerson led all scorers in the first half with nine points.

Both teams shot 52% from the field in the second half. Senior center Adong Makuoi played a huge role for NIU in the second half as he scored 13 points.

NIU turned the ball over with 2:12 left in the game as Redhawks’ redshirt junior guard Myja White hit a 3-pointer to put Miami ahead 72-70. Huskies came back with a 3-pointer of their own from sophomore guard Keshawn Williams to take the lead back 73-72.

NIU was down 76-75 with eight seconds left looking to go for the win. Hankerson pulled up from the three-point line and air balled, ending the game with a 78-75 loss for the Huskeis.

Makuoi led the Huskies in scoring with 14 points. RedHawks junior guard Dae Dae Grant led all scorers with 19 points.

Thoughts from Coach Burno

Burno thoughts on bench contribution:

“We needed Darweshi (Hunter) to step up and he did, and Kingsley (Okanu) played good as well,” Burno said.

Burno’s biggest takeaway from the second half:

“If you don’t defend the three-point line then he doesn’t give you a chance to win the ball game late,” Burno said.

The end result

NIU now has a record of 8-17 overall and a record of 5-10 in the Mid-American Conference. Miami University is now 12-14 overall and has a record of 6-9 in the MAC.

The Huskies will resume action at 6 p.m. Tuesday as they head on the road to play the Eastern Michigan University Eagles on the road in Ypsilanti, Michigan.