Dec. 1, 2012
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Following a difficult first half that saw Northern Illinois trailing by 21 at the intermission, the Huskies outscored the Flyers by four in the second half, falling 60-43 on Saturday evening at the UD Arena.
Freshman guard Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) scored a career-best 17 points while adding four rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists. Baker scored 14 of his game-high 17 in the second half.
“Unfortunately the ball just wouldn’t go in the basket (in the first half),” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “Then the crowd got into it, we had some good looks, they just didn’t go and we missed five free throws. I want to forget the first half and focus on the second half when we shot 59 percent from the field. We outscored them in the second half and maybe we are out of our slump now. There starters were still in the game until 30 seconds to go, so I credit our student-athletes for not giving up and continuing to fight.”
After shooting just 10.5 percent (2-of-19) in the opening 20 minutes, NIU shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) after the intermission. The Huskies also shot 81.8 percent (9-of-11) from the free-throw line in the second stanza while forcing Dayton into 11 second half turnovers.
NIU (1-5) held Dayton nearly 10 points below their season scoring average and held preseason all-conference honoree Kevin Dillard to just three points. The Flyers led 26-5 at the half before NIU outscored Dayton 38-34 in the second 20 minutes. Dayton outrebounded the Huskies 34-30 and used 14 offensive rebounds to claim a 19-5 advantage over NIU in second chance points.
Devin Oliver and Josh Benson paced the Flyers with 12 points each. Vee Sanford also added 11 points for the Flyers who improved to 5-2 on the season.
“I’m excited because not too many people are scoring over 60 points against us,” said Montgomery. “This is a tough environment, they had almost 13,000 here tonight and it isn’t an easy place to play. We didn’t handle it well in the first half but we came out in the second half and battled all the way to the end. I have to give our guys credit for that. They showed heart and poise and they kept working.”
Northern Illinois will return home on Wednesday, Dec .5, when the Huskies host SIU Edwardsville at the NIU Convocation Center. Game time against the Cougars is scheduled for 7 p.m.