Before tonight's game against Ohio State, many wondered whether Northern Illinois was for real. They came into the contest at 7-1, with their only loss being a 7-point defeat at Missouri. They left Columbus with another loss, but it certainly was a respectable one.
After being only down by two at the half, the Huskies let Ohio State slip away in the second half. The Buckeyes had a quick 6-0 spurt in a span of thirty seconds at around the ten minute mark in the second half, putting them up by six. They kept that spread the rest of the contest and Northern Illinois could never capitalize on the opportunity to chip away at the close lead. The Buckeyes made shots down the stretch to put the game away and seal the 67-54 victory.
NIU found themselves happy to be down just two at halftime. The Huskies shot just 31 percent from the field during the half and only connected on one of ten attempts from beyond the arc. What saved them, though, was their performance at the foul line, where NIU hit 14-16 tries from the charity stripe. Defensively the Huskies forced seven turnovers which led to 13 points on the offensive end.
Marin Maric and Marshawn Wilson were the catalysts for NIU during the first half. Maric played well at both ends, scoring 11 points (7 from the line) and collecting 5 rebounds while Wilson tallied 7 points (5 from the line). Point guard Travon Baker played well also and threw a beautiful one-handed bounce pass assist to Wilson on a fast break who finished off the and-one.
The teams traded baskets in the second half up until that Ohio State 6-0 run to put them up 50-44. NIU was able to keep it close for awhile, but a Keita Baines-Diop 3-pointer with three minutes to play effectively put the game away.
Maric ended with a very solid 17 points and nine rebounds, while Wilson finished with 16. The Huskies shooting actually got worse in the second half as NIU finished 15-56 (27 percent) from the field and 5-18 (28 percent) from beyond the arc. Both teams had 14 turnovers and the Huskies and Buckeyes combined for 44 fouls, which made the game somewhat hard to watch.
Ohio State (5-5) hosts Kentucky this Saturday in Brooklyn as a part of the CBS Sports Classic. Northern Illinois (7-2) returns back to DeKalb to face off with Florida International (4-6).
|Player||Ohio State||Northern Illinois|
|Points||J. Tate (17)||M. Maric (17)|
|Rebounds||Two tied (10)||M. Maric (9)|
|Assists||J. Lyle (3)||T. Baker (5)|
|Blocks||T. Thompson (3)||M. Maric (2)|
|Steals||J. Tate (3)||L. Porter (2)|