Northern Illinois Comeback Bid Falls Short

GO HUSKIES Sean Smith led Huskies with 15 points
Sean Smith led Huskies with 15 points

Jan. 16, 2008

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DeKalb, Ill.  - Eastern Michigan senior guard Jarred Axon came off the bench and drained seven three-pointers on his way to a career-high 23 points, helping the visiting Eagles to the 65-61 Mid-American Conference victory over Northern Illinois on Wednesday night, snapping the Huskies' four-game home winning streak at the NIU Convocation Center.


EMU forward Justin Dobbins posted 11 points for the Eagles, while guards Carlos Medlock and Jesse Bunkley each chipped in 10.


"Eastern (Michigan) is a good basketball team," NIU head coach Ricardo Patton said. "They are a seasoned team that has been together a while. 


"They came in and popped us in the mouth and we didn't respond.


With the victory, Eastern Michigan improves to 6-9 overall and 2-1 in MAC play while the Huskies fall to 4-11 on the season and 1-2 in conference action.


NIU junior forward Sean Smith (Gary, Ind./Westside/Vincennes J.C.) led the Huskies with 15 points, while teammates Michael Patton (Boulder, Colo./Boulder/Solebury School (PA)) and Shaun Logan (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott/Kirkwood C.C.) added 12 and 10 points respectively.


The first half of Wednesday's contest was a see-saw affair that had 10 lead changes and concluded with the Huskies holding a 34-33 advantage at the intermission.


The Huskies, however, went cold in the opening nine minutes of the second stanza as EMU went on a 15-4 run, behind seven points from Dobbins, to take a 48-38 lead with 11:28 left in the game. During that span, NIU converted just one field goal.


The Eagles extended that lead to 54-43, following a three-pointer from Bunkley at the 7:59 mark.


NIU made a late surge following Bunkley's trey, going on an 8-0 run behind four points from sophomore forward Najul Ervin (Memphis, Tenn./Mitchell/Kankakee C.C.) to narrow EMU's lead to 54-51 with 4:26 left in the contest. That would be as close as the Huskies would get for the rest of the game, as both Axon and Medlock knocked down back-breaking three-pointers.


Eastern Michigan outperformed NIU on the glass, as the Eagles grabbed 36 caroms, including 14 offensive boards, to the Huskies' 28.


"I'm disappointed, I thought it was the softest exhibition of play we've had all year long," Patton said. "You should never let a team come in and be more physical on your home floor. 


"We've played bigger teams, we've played better teams but we've never appeared to be intimidated," Patton continued. "We allowed offensive rebounds and we didn't get any."


NIU is back in action on Saturday (Jan. 19), as they travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to square off with Central Michigan for a 5:30 p.m. (CST) tip-off.






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