Huskies fall to Bulls in road finale

Men’s basketball sustained their fourth-straight loss in their final away game of the 2021-22 season.

NIU+senior+guard+Trendon+Hankerson+%28right%29+and+Buffalo+senior+forward+Jeenathan+Williams+surge+in+an+attempt+to+recover+the+ball+during+Thursdays+home+matchup+against+the+University+at+Buffalo.+The+Huskies+fell+to+the+Bulls+in+back-to-back+games%2C+losing+79-68+Thursday+and+70-60+Saturday.+%28Zohair+Khan+%7C+Northern+Star%29

Zohair Khan

NIU senior guard Trendon Hankerson (right) and Buffalo senior forward Jeenathan Williams surge in an attempt to recover the ball during Thursday’s home matchup against the University at Buffalo. The Huskies fell to the Bulls in back-to-back games, losing 79-68 Thursday and 70-60 Saturday. (Zohair Khan | Northern Star)

By Skyler Kisellus, Sports Reporter

The men’s basketball team fell on the road to the University at Buffalo Bulls 70-60 Saturday in Buffalo, New York, giving the Huskies their second loss to the Bulls in three days.

How it happened

The Huskies were first on the board after senior guard Anthony Crump made a 3-pointer in the second minute of the game. A pair of long scoring runs by the Bulls, 10-0 and 20-2 respectively, allowed Buffalo to gain an early 30-11 advantage with 6:11 left in the first half.

NIU responded with two runs of their own to narrow the deficit in the final six minutes to send the teams into halftime with Buffalo holding a 36-29 advantage. The Huskies recorded 11-for-29 shooting at the game’s halfway mark, shooting 37.9%

Buffalo opened the first half with back-to-back scores, making it a 40-29 ball game after 2:10 of second-half action. A streak of seven consecutives by the Huskies soon after saw the teams draw within one score of each, the Bulls ahead 41-38.

The two Mid-American Conference rivals tied up with each other at 45-45 with 11:09 left to play. The Huskies spent the remainder of the half attempting to keep Buffalo within arm’s reach. A nine-point scoring run by the Bulls between the 11th and 15th minutes proved to be too much for NIU to recover from as the Huskies fell 70-60 in Buffalo.

Hankerson led all scoring on the night with 21 points. Williams finished second in NIU scoring with 10 points.

The end result

With their second loss to Buffalo in three days, the Huskies now sit at an 8-20 overall record and 5-13 against conference opponents. NIU is now 11th in the MAC with just two games left in the regular season.

For Buffalo, the Bulls continue to roll at 19-8 overall and 13-4 in conference play. They stand at fourth in the MAC, securing a spot in the postseason.

Looking ahead

The defeat closes out road play on the NIU’s 2021-22 campaign. The Huskies will now look ahead to their next matchup against Kent State University at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.