March 12, 2008
Box Score |
No. 6 Central Michigan 83, No. 11 Northern Illinois 71 in PDF Format
Cleveland, Ohio - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team ran into an offensive buzzsaw on Wednesday afternoon, as Central Michigan shot 52.2% (12-for-23) from three-point range and 61.5% (16-for-26) from the field in the second half on their way to the 83-71 Mid-American Conference Tournament first round victory over the Huskies at Quicken Loans Arena.
CMU senior guard Giordan Watson topped five Chippewas in double-figures with 20 points, including five trifectas. Reserve guard Robbie Harman added 16 points, including four three-pointers, followed by 13 points from forward Marko Spica and 11 points apiece from Chris Kellermann and Jordan Bitzer.
"I am extremely proud of our young men the way we battled today," NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton said. "We ran into an extremely hot basketball team and we weren't able to return fire.
"We had some miscommunication on defense and at times they made some tough shots," Patton continued. "They hit some contested shots and you can't totally fault our defense on that.
"Good players are going to make plays and hit shots."
With the victory, Central Michigan improves to 14-16 overall and will face No. 3 seed Akron in the MAC Quarterfinals on Thursday. The Huskies end their season at 6-22.
NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson (Chicago, Ill./Carver Military Academy) posted a game-high 22 points, followed by 12 points apiece from forwards Sean Smith (Gary, Ind./Westside/Vincennes J.C.) and Shaun Logan (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott/Kirkwood C.C.).
CMU held a 73-51 lead over the Huskies with 6:10 remaining in the game, following Watson's fifth trifecta of the contest. NIU went on a 17-4 run, led by eight points from Smith, to cut the Chippewas lead to 77-68 with 1:10 left, but the Huskies would come no closer.