Dec. 30, 2006
Poughkeepsie, N.Y. - Northern Illinois turned the ball over 13 times in the first half leading to 15 Bucknell points, as the Bison jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and never looked back on their way to the 77-59 non-conference victory over the Huskies in the Consolation Game of the Pepsi Marist Classic at the McCann Center on Saturday night.
"Bucknell started with a lot of energy and very high focus at the beginning of this game," NIU head coach Rob Judson said. "Their defense and match-up zone caused a lot of decision-making turnovers on our part which allowed them to have some easy transition baskets."
Bucknell forward Donald Brown posted a game-high 21 points for the Bison, while teammates Chris McNaughton (15 points) and John Griffin (12 points) each scored in double-figures.
With the victory, Bucknell improves to 6-7 on the campaign, while the Huskies fall to 3-9 on the season.
NIU senior guard Mike McKinney (Evanston, Ill.) topped the Huskies with 13 points, followed by 11 points from junior point guard Ryan Paradise (Naperville, Ill.) and 10 points from sophomore point guard Quintan Lipkins (Houston, Texas).
Despite the error-filled first half, NIU responded with just five miscues in the final stanza and scored 37 points as opposed to 22 first half tallies.
"We made a better adjustment in the second half and our offense setting more ball screens, reduced our turnovers and played much better in the offensive end," Judson said.
The game concludes the Huskies' seven-game road trip and its non-conference campaign. NIU opens Mid-American Conference action on January 6, as the Huskies host Western Michigan for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
"We've gone through a stretch of adversity and of obstacles and setbacks and we're going to continue to battle through with a good attitude each day to stay in the moment and be thankful for this opportunity to compete," Judson said.