McKinney's career-high 22 points pace NIU Men's Basketball to 77-66 victory over Marshall


February 3, 2005

McKinney Explodes For Career High 22 Points, NIU Topples Marshall 77-66

DeKalb, IL - Northern Illinois University starting guards Mike McKinney (22) and Cory Sims (17) combined for 39 points and 13 rebounds to lift the Huskies to a 77-66 win over Marshall University Thursday evening in Mid-American Conference action.

McKinney scored 14 of his career high 22 tallies in the second half, as he hit all four of his field goal attempts in the second period to lift the hosts to their fourth home win in five tries. McKinney's second-half surge was nearly equaled by teammate Todd Peterson, who scored all 11 of his points in a span of 4:01 to push a 54-49 NIU lead at 7:27 to 72-55 at 3:26. Peterson entered the day the MAC's No. 2-ranked three-point shooter at 48.9 percent and hit 3-of-4 treys for the game and all-three of his three-point attempts in the second half to blow open a tight contest.

Now owners of a deceiving 3-16 overall record, tonight's loss for the Thundering Herd was their second worst of the MAC season to a 13-point (78-65) defeat at Buffalo on Jan. 27. Coming into the game, Marshall had dropped 10 games by 10 points or less and defeated then-No. 24 West Virginia 59-55 in Charleston, W.V.

While McKinney and Peterson paced NIU's offensive production for much of the second half, it was a rare three-pointer by Sims at the end of the first half that gave NIU a spark heading into the halftime break. Down 30-29 with three seconds remaining, Sims took the ball the length of the court and banked home a 35-footer at the buzzer to send the Huskies to the break up two.

The bucket provided the Huskies with a much-needed offensive lift, as they shot 57.7 percent from the floor in the second half and committed just five turnovers to outscore Marshall by nine (45-36) over the final 20 minutes.
Sims actually went 2-of-2 from bonus distance on the night, nearly equaling his season three-point field goal total (3) coming into the game. Sims also hit a pair of treys vs. Bradley (12-1-04) in an overtime home loss. The Livingston, AL, native also tied career highs with six rebounds and three steals, while handing out five assists without committing a turnover.

McKinney was efficient in registering his career night. An athletic guard from Evanston, McKinney hit 7-of-9 shots and made a career high 8-of-9 free throws to become the second Huskie of the year to top the 20-point plateau.

Peterson finished the game as the other Huskie in double figures with 11.

Northern Illinois returns to action on Feb. 6 at Kent State University at 11 a.m. (CST). The game has been selected as the Mid-American Conference Game of the Week and will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.



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