DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois reserves, led by a season-high 21 points from junior guard Jarvis Nichols (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North/Pratt C.C.), combined to score 62 points to help propel the Huskies to their fourth consecutive home victory with the 78-62 Mid-American Conference win over Toledo at the NIU Convocation Center on Sunday afternoon.
Huskie forwards Sean Smith (Gary, Ind./Westside/Vincennes J.C.) and Bristan Kelley (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit North) each joined in the fun, posting season-highs of 18 and 11 points respectively.
"It was a great first MAC win for our team," NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton said. "We had a great level of energy on defense that really helped us win this ball game."
Patton was particularly proud of the Huskies' defense of their home court for the fourth consecutive game at the Convocation Center.
"You have to take care of your home court," Patton said. "There should be a sense of pride and our team is starting to develop that.
"This needs to be a very difficult place for visiting teams to play."
With the victory, NIU improves to 4-10 overall and 1-1 in MAC action, while the Rockets fall to 4-10 on the campaign and 1-1 in conference play.
Sharing was the name of the game for the Huskies on Sunday afternoon, as NIU posted a season-high 19 assists to a season-low 13 turnovers. Seniors Shaun Logan (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott/Kirkwood C.C.) and Egan Grafel (Oberlin, Kan./Decatur Comm./Cloud County C.C.) each dished out a team-season best six assists for the Huskies.
The Huskies' ability to knock down the open shot certainly helped their cause, as they converted a season-best 54.7% (29-for-53) of their field goal attempts. NIU has enjoyed recent shooting success against the Rockets, as they are clicking at a 56.3% (161-for-286) in their last six games, dating back to the 2005-06 campaign.
Toledo guard Jonathan Amos led the Rockets with 17 points, 15 of which were scored in the second half. Conversely, MAC leading scorer Tyrone Kent finished with 16 points, after scoring 14 points in the opening 20 minutes.
As a team, Toledo shot 38.2% (21-for-55) from the field, marking the sixth time in the Huskies' last eight games that their opponent has been held to under 40.0% shooting.
Northern Illinois will be back in action on Wednesday, January 16, as they welcome Eastern Michigan to the NIU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. (CST) showdown.