Marin Maric led Northern Illinois with 17 points and nine rebounds, as Northern Illinois held off a strong comeback from Central Michigan, defeating the Chippewas 87-83 in Dekalb on Saturday afternoon. Northern Illinois moves to 9-6 (1-1 MAC) on the year and Central Michigan falls to 10-5 (0-2 MAC).
The Huskies had three other players in double digits, as Jaylen Key scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Dontel Highsmith added 16 points and and six rebounds, and Laytwan Porter added 16 points and five rebounds. The Huskies were able to dominate in the paint and out rebound the Chippewas, 53-42, to help them to this victory.
Braylon Rayson led all scorers as he scored 29 points for the Chippewas, while dishing out five assists and grabbing four rebounds. David DiLeo scored a career high 22 points while grabbing six rebounds, and Marcus Keene had 14 points and dished out four assists.
Northern Illinois led this game by 17 with 3:18 to go, and everyone was ready to count Central Michigan out. David DiLeo made two straight three pointers to cut the lead to 11 with 2:38 left. Central Michigan cut it all the way down to 3 with :05 seconds left but was unable to force a turnover and Northern Illinois made 1 of 2 free throws to seal the win.
Marcus Keene struggled to get open looks, as the Huskies made sure that Keene wasn’t going to get anything he wanted. Likewise, Northern Illinois made sure to drive and take the ball down low, as they forced the two big men for Central Michigan, Luke Meyer and DaRohn Scott, to foul out of the game and use their height to their advantage.
Both teams took many free throws on the night. Central Michigan attempted 44 free throws, converting on 30 of them for a 68.2% clip, and Northern Illinois attempted 38 free throws and made 27 of them for a 71.1% clip on the night. Both teams combined for 59 fouls.
Northern Illinois converted on 28 of 73 shot attempts for a 38.4% clip, but struggled from beyond the arc. The Huskies only made 4 of 20 attempts from three-point range. Central Michigan converted on 20 of 57 shots, 13 of them were from beyond the arc.
Northern Illinois will travel to Kent State to take on the Golden Flashes in the MAC Center on Tuesday, January 10th. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
Central Michigan looks to get their first MAC win of the season, as they return home to host the Akron Zips. Tip is set for 7 p.m. and will be aired on ESPN3.