The Northern Illinois Huskies avenged its only loss in MAC play as they downed the Miami RedHawks 62-58 on Tuesday night. The two teams were even in a lot of areas, but NIU (12-6, 4-1 MAC) had a huge edge in rebounds (38 to 17), at the free throw line (17-23 to 9-11), and off the bench (28 points to six). The RedHawks (8-10, 1-4 MAC) are in a bad way right now as they have lost four straight in the league with the road not getting any easier.
Thing were nip-and-tuck for a large portion of the first half until the Huskies exploded for a 10-0 run that set the score at 24-15 with 4:05 remaining in the half. Eugene German accounted for a couple of layups during the stretch while Marshawn Wilson tallied a pair of free throws, and Levi Bradley and Justin Thomas each scored as NIU coasted into the intermission with a 31-24 lead.
Miami was able to make the Huskies sweat it out in the second half as an Abdoulaye Harouna three-ball cut the deficit to 39-36 with 14:46 left in regulation. However, a 6-2 stretch from Northern Illinois gave the team a 51-43 edge with 8:05 left as Laytwan Porter pitched in with a couple of free throws and an assist on a Marin Maric layup. The ‘Hawks refused to go away quietly as Michael Weathers nailed a trey with 2:17 remaining to cut NIU’s lead to four points, but the Red and White were unable to get the stops the needed in crunch time as the Huskies held on for the win.
Maric was a force for NIU as he recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds and 11 points while Dontel Highsmith came to play with 2-3 shooting from downtown on his way to ten points. Aaric Armstead had a tough night in the rematch as he went 0-8 from the field and had a team-high five turnovers. Meanwhile, Weathers carried the RedHawks with his game-high 18 points off of 3-5 shooting from long range, six assists, three boards, and two steals. Logan McClane had another strong game against Northern Illinois with 12 points while Harouna registered ten points despite shooting 3-14 from the field.
Both teams return to action on Saturday as NIU hosts the Ohio Bobcats at 4:30 p.m. while Miami makes the trek north to face the potent Central Michigan Chippewas at 1:30 p.m.