Dec. 4, 2007
Final Stats | Quotes
Northern Illinois 63, Air Force 52
DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team, led by guards Jarvis Nichols (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North/Pratt C.C.) and Jeremy Landers (Milwaukee, Wis./Murphysboro (IL)/Genesis One (MS)), went on a 17-6 run over the final 3:33 to help propel the host Huskies to the 63-52 non-conference victory over the Air Force Academy at the NIU Convocation Center on Tuesday night.
Nichols finished with a game and season-high tying 18 points, while Landers also tied a season-high with 14 points. Nichols was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line and added four steals and four assists in the victory.
"I'm very proud of our young men," NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton said. "They showed a lot of poise in winning a tough basketball game."
NIU junior forward Sean Smith (Gary, Ind./Westside/Vincennes J.C.) added a season-high 10 points in the Huskie win.
With the victory, NIU improves to 2-6 overall, while the visiting Falcons drop to 5-4 on the campaign.
AFA guard Tim Anderson led the Falcons with 15 points, while senior center Keith Maren added 10 points.
The outcome of the game was in question for much of the contest as the score was tied at 46 with four minutes remaining. Landers broke that tie with his second three-pointer of the night, giving the Huskies a 49-46 lead that they would not relinquish, aided by the fact that Air Force did not convert a field goal for the rest of the game.
Free throw shooting proved to be the difference in the ballgame as the Huskies went to the line 21 times in the second half, connecting on 14 of their attempts.
The Huskies' defensive prowess was impressive as NIU held Air Force to a season-low field goal percentage of 37.0% (17-for-46) while forcing a season-high 22 turnovers that led to 23 tallies.
Conversely, NIU shot a season-best 48.7% (19-for-39) from the field, while knocking down 50.0% (7-for-14) of their three-point attempts.
"I felt our kids were rushing things tonight," Air Force head men's basketball coach Jeff Reynolds said. "We played not to lose instead of playing to win.
"We were very surprised with the way they [Northern Illinois] shot the ball, but they are a better shooting team than their stats indicate," Reynolds continued. "Anytime you play a schedule like they have played so far, the statistics may not give a fair indication."
The Huskies are back in action on Saturday (Dec. 8) evening, as they travel to South Bend, Indiana to square off with Notre Dame at 6 p.m. (CST).