79-63 Contest At Eastern Michigan, McKinney Records Third Double-Double
- Markus Austin scored 16 points to lead four Eastern Michigan players
in double figures as the Eagles earned a 79-63 home win over the
Northern Illinois University men's basketball team Wednesday evening
at the EMU Convocation Center.
As a team, the Eagles shot lights-out from the floor, connecting
on 55.1 percent of their field goals and 18-of-24 free throws, while
the Huskies once again struggled offensively on the road, connecting
on just 38 percent from the field and 22 percent from three-point
Mike McKinney tied career highs in both scoring and rebounding,
finishing with 22 points and 10 boards to give the 6-foot-4 guard
his third double-double of the season. McKinney is now third in
the MAC in double-doubles among guards, one behind both Chet Mason
of Miami and Ben Reed of Western Michigan who each have four.
From the early going, Northern Illinois was forced to play catch-up
due to a pair of EMU offensive spurts in the opening frame. Coupled
with poor road shooting, the Huskies trailed by as many as 19 in
the opening period before cutting it to 43-26 at the break.
With the Huskies trailing 12-10 on a Cory Sims layup, Eastern Michigan
responded with a 12-2 run to grab control of the contest. Michael
Ross started the run with a three-pointer from the wing before a
John Bowler lay-in and a James Jackson three-point play put the
hosts up eight, 20-12 at the 10:37 mark. Two more Jackson charity
shots and Austin's first bucket of the night pushed the lead to
12, before James Hughes slowed the rally with a follow on a McKinney
Todd Peterson looked to balance the Northern Illinois effort with
a deep triple from the top of the key to cut the margin to 24-17
at 6:51, but a 12-0 Eagle run over the next 2:44 pushed their advantage
to 19. Craig Cashen and Derek VanSolkema each scored five points
in the spurt, which forced NIU head coach Rob Judson to burn his
second :30 timeout of the period.
The second half saw a much more spirited Northern Illinois effort
as the Huskies outscored the hosts 37-36 over the final 20 minutes.
McKinney scored 17 of his 22 over the final half, which included
7-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. McKinney was the lone
Huskie able to get the stripe however, as NIU was out-shot 24-11
at the line, despite their repeated efforts to attack the paint,
which resulted in them outscoring EMU 36-34 in the paint.
After EMU pushed its lead to 22, 53-31, early in the second half,
Northern Illinois came to life and sliced the margin in half by
the 7:52 mark. McKinney (3), Maestranzi (3) and Peterson (2) all
contributed in an 8-0 run which helped cut the EMU advantage to
53-49 at the 12:24 mark. The Eagles once again pushed the lead back
to 18 (57-39) at 10:41, but the Huskies responded with a 10-3 surge
to cut the contest down to 11, 60-49 at 7:52. That would be as close
as the Huskies could get though, as EMU netted back-to-back hoops
to gradually push the margin back to 18.
Northern Illinois returns to action for a rare late-season, non-conference
matchup on Feb. 19 at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. The
contest is part of the ESPN Bracket Buster event and will be played
at 7 p.m. (EST).