Huskies Beat Coe College in Exhibition Opener
Nov. 6, 2010
DeKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois senior Xavier Silas scored 26 points and the Huskie men's basketball team used a 13-0 run at the end of the first half and start of the second to power past Coe (Iowa) College, 82-65, in exhibition basketball action Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center.
The contest served as Northern Illinois' only exhibition game before opening the 2010-11 season versus Northwestern on Friday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Convocation Center. NIU head coach Ricard Patton said Coe provided his team with exactly what he was looking for going into the final week of the preseason.
"This was an excellent test for our guys," Patton said. "We had to get out and defend on guys that could really shoot the basketball. Our big guys ran into some problems when they had to help and recover on the outside. Our guards defended well, I thought."
Ten of the 12 Huskie players that dressed for the game played 10 minutes or more, and each of those 10 scored in the game. Silas' 26 points came in 27 minutes of action as he hit 7-of-10 shots from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. He was joined in double figures by freshman Nate Rucker, who had 13 points and pulled down four rebounds. Junior college newcomer Tim Toler led the Huskies in rebounding with six. Six players made their Huskie debuts, including redshirt freshman Antone Christian and five newcomers.
Northern Illinois shot 44.8 percent from the field for the game, but it was an improvement in the Huskie defense in the second half that helped make the difference for NIU. Coe made 6-of-12 three-point shots in the first half but went only 2-of-9 from outside in the second-half, and after getting out-rebounded by the much smaller Kohawks, 21-15, in the opening period, the Huskies finished the game with 35 rebounds to equal Coe's total.
After Northern Illinois opened the game on an 11-0 run, the Kohawks went on an 11-2 run of their own to close the gap to 13-11 at the 14:53 mark after a three-pointer by Nathan Joens. One of Silas' two three-pointers put the Huskies back up by 10, 23-13, with 11:38 left before Coe once again battled back to trail just 24-23 with 9:10 on the clock.
The Kohawks tied the score at 32 on another of their six first-half three-pointers, this one by Jake Raney, and took their only lead of the game at 34-33 on a layup by Joe Parys with 1:53 left in the half.
Northern Illinois scored the next 13 points of the game and never looked back. A pair of Silas free throws put NIU ahead to stay and Rucker added a layup before two more Silas free throws gave the Huskies a 39-34 halftime lead. Silas opened the second half with a three pointer and his jumper two minutes later extended Northern Illinois' lead to 46-34.
From there, Coe could only cut the deficit to seven points midway through the second half as NIU made 51.7 percent of its field goals and went 12-of-13 from the free throw line in the second half.
We made some careless turnovers, but to have guys come in at the end of the game and dive on the floor for loose balls is very good," Patton said. "I don't know how you could go away from this game and not like what you saw out of Nate Rucker. He is going to be an excellent freshman in this league."
Silas echoed his appreciation for the Huskies' new big men.
Dan Borngraeber led Coe with 11 points and was the only Kohawk in double figures.
Tickets for the NIU-Northwestern game, and all regular season games, along with season tickets, are on sale now online at www.NIUHuskies.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center at 815-752-6800.
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