Seniors lace up for finale

By Wes Swietek

They’ve been backups, starters, goats, heroes, ice cold, sizzling hot, champions, also-rans, losers and winners. But above all, they’ve been Huskies.

The they is Mike Hidden and Brian Molis, the two seniors who will be honored at Saturday’s final regular-season men’s basketball game (2:05 p.m. against Texas Tech).

During the last four years, Hidden has spent a lot of time on the Chick Evans Field House floor. Molis has been alongside him the last two seasons after transferring from Colorado.

As they prepare to lace up their game sneakers for the final time at the fieldhouse, the duo said they are approaching the game like they would any other.

“I just want to go out there and play our normal game,” Hidden said. “Hopefully, we’ll win it. If I put too much pressure on myself, I’ll mess up.”

“I want to play hard and get a win going into the conference tournament,” Molis said. “That’s the most important thing.”

And although the Huskies have battled through a trying season with a 10-16 record, the seniors agree that there have been some satisfying moments.

“It’s been up and down, but I don’t consider this a losing season,” Hidden said, “It’s been frustrating, but we’ve proven that we’re better then some people predicted.”

“Though our record is not that great this year, there’s been a lot of adversity we’ve gone through. We’ve done better in the conference than anyone expected,” Molis said.

Both had no trouble pinpointing their career highlights while at NIU—last year’s trip by the 25-6 Huskies to the NCAA tournament.

Current NIU boss Brian Hammel has only coached the duo for one season, but readily acknowledges their importance.

“If Molis is the heart, then Hidden is the soul and if Molis is the soul, then Hidden is the heart,” Hammel said.

NIU opened the season with an 82-68 loss to Saturday’s opponent. The Red Raiders are 13-11.

“They have a real strong inside-outside attack,” Hammel said. “(Junior forward Will) Flemons is a real strong inside player, they’re pushing him for Southwest Conference Player of the Year.”

Hammel would like to see his team break their current three-game losing streak going into the Mid-Continent Conference tourney which starts March 8 in Cleveland. “A win would be a nice boost for our momentum,” Hammel said. “(And) it would be great for Molis and Hidden go out with a positive memory of Evans Field House.”