Feb. 4, 2006
DeKalb, IL -
If Northern Illinois University head basketball coach Rob Judson could imagine an outlook for the "perfect" basketball game, it would look eerily similar to the Huskies' contest against Western Michigan University.
The Huskies had seven different players score eight or more points as NIU cruised to the 86-60 Mid-American Conference West division victory over the Broncos, tying a season-best winning streak of four games and claiming sole possession of first place in the MAC West at the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon.
"The reason for our success is the wholeness of our group and the fact that we have a lot of interchangeable parts," Judson said. "We have a lot of people that can score on any given night.
"We went out with the attitude, that every rebound, every shot, every basket, every free throw, every assist was not for themselves, but for the Huskies."
NIU sophomore guard Ryan Paradise drained a team season-high five three-pointers - all in the first half - to lead the Huskies in scoring with 15 points. Huskie senior forward Todd Peterson added 13 points and seven rebounds, followed by Mike McKinney (12 points) and Ben Rand (11 points). Senior guard Cory Sims scored eight points and dished out a team season-high nine assists.
"Their defense sagged in the post early and I was able to get a couple looks early," Paradise said. "A couple of great screens from Craig (Reichel) and a couple of good passes from Todd and Cory.
"I was just open. They kept finding me and did a good job"
With the victory, NIU improves to 13-7 overall and 8-4 in MAC play while
the Broncos fall to 9-12 on the campaign and 6-5 in conference action. The win also marks the first time since the 2002-03 campaign that the Huskies have won four consecutive MAC contests.
For the game, NIU shot 60.0% (33-for-55) from the field, marking the third time this season that the Huskies have reached that level, and the 12th time they have shot over 50.0%. The Huskies also tied a team season-best with 23 assists.
The Huskies were equally as effective from three-point range knocking down 10 treys and shooting a season-best 55.6% (10-for-18) from beyond the arc. Conversely, WMU shot 7.7% (1-for-13) from three-point range.
"We had very good looks today, and when these guys have good looks, they're good shooters," Judson said.
WMU sophomore forward Joe Reitz tallied a game-high 23 points while teammate Stane's Bufford added 10 points in the loss.
"Hats off to Northern Illinois," Reitz said. "They played a tremendous game, shot the lights out and got everything they wanted offensively.
"They were really on their game today."
NIU is be back in action on Thursday night as the Huskies hit the road to take on Ohio University for a 6 p.m. (CST) tip-off in Athens, OH.
(For further information, please contact Matt Brendich) -NIU-