March 4, 2007
Box Score |
DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois senior center James Hughes (Silvis, Ill.) ended his home career in style, as the Silvis, Ill., native posted a game-high 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, tied a career-high with six blocks and scored his 1,000th point in a NIU uniform, as the host Huskies snapped a five-game losing streak on "Senior Day" with the 76-69 Mid-American Conference victory over Eastern Michigan at the NIU Convocation Center on Sunday afternoon.
"I'm very happy for these two guys to my right [NIU seniors James Hughes and Mike McKinney] and very happy for our basketball team," NIU head coach Rob Judson said. "I'm happy that James and Mike will have a successful feeling on senior day and their last time on this floor."
Hughes, who converted his first 10 field goal attempts, became the 27th Huskie to reach the 1,000-point plateau and also grabbed his 500th career rebound in the winning effort.
NIU freshman guard Cody Yelder (Calumet Park, Ill.) finished with 14 points, followed by 11 points from junior Zach Pancratz (Schaumburg, Ill.) and 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists from senior Mike McKinney (Evanston, Ill.).
With the victory, NIU finishes the regular-season with a mark of 7-22 overall and 4-12 in MAC play, while the Eagles fall to 12-18 overall and 6-10 in conference action.
EMU reserve guard Devon Dumes topped the Eagles with 17 points, including five three-pointers, followed by 14 points from Brandon Bowdry and 12 points from Jarrod Axon.
The Huskies used a strong rebounding effort on the afternoon, as they grabbed 38 caroms to EMU's 25. The Eagles' had 16 more shots than the Huskies [64-48], but NIU made the most of theirs, as they converted 56.3% (27-for-48) of their attempts, including a 68.2% (15-for-22) showing in the final stanza.
Midway into the second half, EMU took a 58-56 lead over the Huskies as Dumes knocked down a three-pointer at the 10:29 mark.
The Huskies took over from that point, as NIU went on a 12-3 run, keyed by six points from Hughes, to take a 68-61 advantage with 3:55 left in the contest. EMU would inch closer, narrowing NIU's lead to 71-69 following a 10-foot jumper from Awith 1:26 left.
Huskie junior Shaun Logan (Eldridge, Iowa), however, put any thoughts of a Eagles' comeback to rest, scoring the next five points to secure the 76-69 triumph.
The Huskies now have to await the outcome of tonight's Ohio/Buffalo tilt that determines their seeding in the upcoming MAC Men's Basketball Tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. Should Ohio win, NIU would secure the No. 10 seed. Should Buffalo win, the Huskies would be seeded 11th overall. The MAC tournament begins on Wednesday [March 7] afternoon at 12 p.m. (CST).