Strong Second Half Leads Ohio Past NIU

GO HUSKIES Travon Baker scored 12 points and dished out four assists
Travon Baker scored 12 points and dished out four assists

Jan. 18, 2014

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DEKALB, Ill. -- Trailing by one at halftime, Ohio used a quick 16-4 burst to open the second half to go on to claim a 65-46 victory over the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team on Saturday evening at the NIU Convocation Center.

Junior Aaron Armstead (Chicago, Ill./Hales Franciscan/San Jose City College) and sophomore Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) each scored 12 points to lead the Huskies.

“I thought it was an evenly-played game in the first half,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “I thought we came out and jumped on them; we had a seven-point lead. They are a very good team.  I told our guys before the game that it was going to be a game of runs. We still withstood their run and had a one-point lead.  

“It seemed like we were a step slow in the second half. You have to credit OU; they made some tough shots and got out in transition. We just didn’t have enough gas in us to get the second stops or make some baskets.”

Ohio (13-4, 3-1 MAC) took an early 5-1 lead in the contest, but NIU responded with a 13-2 burst to take a 14-7 lead, its largest of the contest, with 8:59 left in the first half. Aaron Armstead scored seven of his 12 during the run, which was capped by a pull-up jumper from senior Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker), forcing an Ohio timeout.

Following the timeout, the Bobcats answered with a 7-1 run, cutting the Huskie advantage to one, 15-14, with 6:31 to play before the intermission.

NIU (7-9, 1-3 MAC) pushed the lead back to five, 21-16, with a triple and an old-fashioned three-point play from Baker, but Ohio pulled back within one, 24-23, at the intermission.

Baker led all scorers with 10 in the opening 20 minutes. Ohio shot 50 percent (10-of-20) in the first half, holding NIU to just 33.3 percent (8-of-24), but the Huskies grabbed seven offensive rebounds and went to the free-throw line 11 times to just one offensive rebound and two free throw attempts for Ohio.

The Bobcats raced out of the intermission, using a 16-4 run to quickly take a 39-28 lead, three-and-a-half minutes into the second half.

Ohio stayed hot the entire second half, shooting 53.6 percent (15-of-28) from the field, including 50 percent (7-of-14) from three in the second 20 minutes. Nick Kellogg scored 11 of his game-high 16 after the intermission for the Bobcats.

Maurice Ndour joined Kellogg in double figures for Ohio, posting 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

NIU will return to action on Wednesday night, Jan. 22, when it travels to Toledo for its first game against a MAC West foe. Game time against the Rockets is scheduled for 6 p.m.



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