Nov. 11, 2007
Cal Poly 88, Northern Illinois 78 in PDF Format | Box Score
Cedar Falls, Iowa - It was a case of too little, too late for the Northern Illinois men's basketball team as the Huskies cut a 14-point Cal Poly lead to four with 3:15 left in the contest, but the Mustangs countered with a 10-4 run of their own to earn the 88-78 victory over NIU in the BTI Tip-Off Tourney finale at Northern Iowa's McLeod Center on Sunday afternoon.
Cal Poly junior guard Trae Clark topped the Mustangs with 22 points and seven assists, including converting 8-of-11 free throw attempts in the second half. Mustang senior forward Matt Hanson posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, while teammates Dreshawn Vance and Chaz Thomas added 14 and 11 points respectively.
With the victory, Cal Poly improves to 1-2 on the season, while the Huskies fall to 0-3 on the campaign.
NIU senior guard Ryan Paradise (Naperville, Ill. / Central) topped the Huskies for the third straight game with 21 points, followed by 18 points from junior guard Jarvis Nichols (Carol Stream, Ill. / Glenbard North / Pratt C.C.).
Huskie senior forward Michael Hart (Bolingbrook, Ill. / Bolingbrook / Carthage College) tallied 14 points, while classmate Egan Grafel (Oberlin, Kan. / Decatur Community / Cloud County C.C.) chipped in 10 points and a team-best eight boards.
Cal-Poly built a 14-point lead over NIU late in the game, taking a 78-64 lead following a Clark free throw at the 4:42 mark.
The Huskies stormed back with a 10-0 run, behind five points from Paradise to cut the deficit to 78-74 with 3:15 remaining.
The Mustangs, however, put the game away with a 10-4 run over the rest of the contest to clinch the victory.
The Huskies were done in by poor shooting in the second half, as they shot 30.8% (12-for-39) from the field, while Cal Poly was able to get to the free throw line an astounding 34 charity shots in the final 20 minutes, converting 19 of their attempts.
Despite the tough weekend, NIU head coach Ricardo Patton some bright spots for his squad, but definitely saw room for improvement.
"We made some strides, but we still need to get more consistent," Patton said. "I thought that this is a team we should have beat.
"We had opportunities, most of which we squandered," Patton continued. "We had enough opportunities, and I've found you lose more games by your own mistakes."
NIU is back in action on Saturday, November 17 as they head to Carbondale, Illinois for a 7 p.m. showdown against Southern Illinois.