Well, the basketball game that captured the hearts and morbid curiosity of a nation finally ended. With just four points at the half and ONE basket to their name, it was suddenly a race to get to 10, 15, maybe even 20 points.
Some quick stats:
• They went 24 minutes and 32 seconds between baskets. They held a 2-0 lead when Abdel Nader hit a jumper with 19:00 left in the first half, peppered in some free throws, and then Keith Gray connected on a layup with 14:27 left in the game. And they were only down 16 points at that junction, so they had a modest shot at coming back and winning.
• They were 1-for-33 on 3-pointers, missing their first 30 attempts until Daveon Balls finally connected on one from the top of the key. Needless to say, Balls had a team-high seven points.
• The 13.1 percent shooting from the floor is a new NCAA record, and it only happened thanks to a buzzer-beating attempt to end the game. Otherwise they'd have avoided the record.
• NIU outrebounded EMU on the offensive glass 18-7. In the first half alone they had 14 offensive boards compared to EMU's one.
• The Huskies also won the turnover battle 9 to 15, meaning NIU had better numbers in two of the "four factors."
• In football, NIU had 28 points at Eastern Michigan in the first half alone, and 49 for the game.
• During a timeout contest in the second half, an EMU fan made a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a halfcourt shot (ON THE SECOND TRY).
• The last time NIU scored 25 points in a game or fewer was January 18, 1941 when they actually beat Illinois State 24-22. This was, of course, prior to the advent of the shot clock. So they had a good reason back then. Today ... well, all I can say is Mark Montgomery had his hands full with this job a year ago, trying to find talent and cultivate it in a program that basically had salted earth from the Ricardo Patton era.
It can only get better from here. Even though their next game is against Kent State.