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Chicago State Cougars vs. Northern Illinois Huskies men's basketball recap: Northern Illinois go to 7-0 with 80-56 thrashing of Chicago State

Huskies improve to 7-0 with convincing win over Chicago State. The non conference schedule heats up with Missouri and Ohio State in upcoming road games.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskies started their attempt at 7-0 by facing the Chicago State Cougars Wednesday night in DeKalb, where they are 5-0 at home. They opened with a 6-0 run led by four quick points by Travon Baker and a layup by Chuks Iroegbu. The Cougars closed the gap at 14-10 with 12 minutes left in the first half. The Huskes then went on a 15-6 run to stretch their lead to 13 points with six minutes left to go.

The halftime lead was 39-24 with the Huskies leading comfortably paced by Baker who had 9 points and Marin Maric with 7 points. The Cougars were scoreless coming out of the halftime break as NIU stretched it's lead to 49-26 with Aaric Armstead chipping in 8 points.

There were four double digit scorers for the Huskies as Maric, Armstead, Baker and Wilson paced the Huskie attack. The field goal percentage for the Huskies was an impressive 52 percent but they struggled mightily from the free throw line connecting on only 44 percent of their free throws. If the Huskies want to continue their strong play into conference play and against their upcoming non conference opponents, they'll have to perform better at the free throw line.

Armstead has continued a strong five game stretch where he's posted double digits in four of the five games totaling 79 points. He also has contributed 30 rebounds and 21 of 26 from the free throw line showcasing a complete performance on the court. The junior is leading a very young Huskies team that got some great experience last year and posting a 14-16 record. Maric also had a very strong game with 12 points and 14 rebounds with five blocks.

This might finally be the year where the Huskies actually will finish with an above .500 record and challenge some MAC teams for a potential run in the MAC tourney. They are still unproven as most of their opponents haven't been to challenging and have their biggest test of the season Friday night at Missouri and a road game versus Ohio State in the future.