Slow Start Haunts Huskies at Bowling Green

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Feb. 4, 2012 Final Stats

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Northern Illinois men’s basketball team played Bowling Green even in the second half, but were unable to overcome a slow first half start, falling 65-40 on Saturday evening at the Stroh Center.

Freshman wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) just missed a double-double with eight points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Stian Berg (Baerum, Norway/Norges Toppidretts Gymnas) and sophomore guard Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) each scored nine points to lead the Huskies.

Jordan Crawford led Bowling Green with 15 points and a game-high six assists, Scott Thomas added 14 points and nine rebounds.

“We played a good second half but it was disappointing the way we started the game,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “When you work on things in practice you want to see your guys execute them in games and in the second half we got the ball into the high-post, turned around and made plays. We just didn’t get going in the first half … How you start the game is so important and it just looked like we were running in quicksand.”

Bowling Green scored the first 10 points of the contest and raced to an 18-1 lead in the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the first half as it started 8-of-11 from the field.

NIU found some offensive rhythm just past the midway point of the first half, but the Falcons finished the half on a 13-4 run to take a 41-16 lead into the intermission.

Scott Thomas led all scorers with 14 points in the first half for Bowling Green, who shot 60 percent (15-of-25) from the field in the opening 20 minutes while holding NIU to just 23.8 percent (5-of-21) shooting. The Falcons forced 12 first half Huskie turnovers and converted those turnovers into 12 points.

In the second half, the Huskies held the Falcons to just five field goals on 31.3 percent (5-of-16) shooting. NIU and Bowling Green each scored 24 points in the second stanza, with the Falcons making up for their lack of field goals with a 13-3 advantage at the free-throw line. The Huskies committed just four second half turnovers.

NIU will return home to DeKalb on Wednesday, Feb. 8, when the Huskies host Miami (Ohio) at the NIU Convocation Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.