Second Half Run Lifts CMU Past Huskies, 63-44

GO HUSKIES Sean Kowal scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
GO HUSKIES
Sean Kowal scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
GO HUSKIES

Feb. 18, 2009

Final Stats

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - For the second time this season, Central Michigan held the Northern Illinois men's basketball team (7-17, 3-9 MAC) to a season-low scoring mark, as the Chippewas broke open a two-point game with a commanding 24-6 second half run, and pulled away from the Huskies, 63-44, at Rose Arena Wednesday night.

For the first time this season, NIU did not have a player tally double figures in scoring. Sophomore center Sean Kowal and senior forward Sean Smith shared the Huskies' scoring lead, chipping in nine points apiece. CMU was led by Antonio Weary's 11 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals, pacing a foursome of Chippewas with double-digit scoring outputs.

The Huskies suffered single-game season-lows in points, field goals (16), three-point field goals (2) and steals (4). Central Michigan out-scored the Huskies in the second half, 36-20, and scored 25 points off 17 NIU turnovers.

Despite Darion "Jake" Anderson picking up two personal fouls in the first 4:03 of the game, the Huskies entered the locker room at halftime trailing by just three, 27-24. NIU shot 45 percent (9-of-20) from the field in the opening stanza, and held CMU to just a 36 percent (9-of-25) shooting effort. Anderson was limited to just four minutes of action in the opening frame.

Freshman guard Mike DiNunno's eight first half points led all scorers, while Smith chipped in six points on three converted field goals. The Chippewas saw eight players crack the first half scoring column, led by Jordan Bitzer and Adrian Hunter's five points. NIU held an 18-14 advantage on the boards entering the second half.

CMU jumped out to an early five-point lead in the opening stages of the second half, but Kowal tallied back-to-back field goals to keep the Huskies within two, 33-31, with 15:46 remaining. The Chippewas answered with a resounding 24-6 run, and opened up a game-high 20-point (57-37) lead with 2:45 left. NIU tallied just two field goals during the stretch.

The Huskies cut the lead to 16 points (57-41) with 2:09 remaining, but could draw no closer. NIU's 20 second half points tied its lowest single-half scoring output of the season.

The Huskies will take a break from Mid-American Conference action Saturday, when NIU travels to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to take on host Southeast Missouri State in the ESPNU BracketBuster game. Tip-off from the Show Me Center is set for 7:45 p.m. CST.