Northern Illinois men's basketball team prepares for Friday's opener with 98-66 exhibition victory over NBC Thunder



November 12, 2002


Box Score


DeKALB, IL---With Friday's season opener just 72 hours away, Northern Illinois University head coach Rob Judson wanted his team to see improvement from last week's exhibition to Tuesday (November 12) contest. The Huskies progress was very evident as they ran away with a 98-66 victory over the NBC Thunder in exhibition play.


Six different Northern Illinois players scored in double figures, led by junior Marcus Smallwood (Elgin) has he topped all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The 6-foot-6 forward posted his second double-double of the exhibition schedule as he notched a game-high 13 rebounds with eight of his boards coming on the offensive glass.


"We took some steps forward from our last game," Judson said. "We wanted to attack offensively and I like the way we shot. The only thing we need to do is work on our free throws."


Smallwood's baker's dozen on the boards was part of a Huskie rebounding effort that held a 53-33 advantage over the Thunder. All 12 Northern Illinois players recorded at least one rebound, with five different Huskies grabbing four or more boards. Joining Smallwood in double figures on the glass was forward Jamel Staten (Minneapolis, MN / North) as he nabbed 11 boards while scoring 13 points to post his second double-double.


One reason for the rebound discrepancy was the shooting percentage at each end of the court. The Huskies shot 51.3 percent (40-of-78) from the floor, compared to 19-for-60 (31.7 percent) for the visitors. Unfortunately for Northern Illinois that accuracy didn't carry over to the free throw line. NIU shot better from the floor than it did the charity stripe as it could only convert 50 percent (8-for-16) at the line. NBC made as many free throws (16-of-26) as the Huskies took.


"After the last exhibition game we worked on our transition defense and it paid off," Judson added. "Our transition defense was much improved tonight. The Thunder shot just 31 percent from the field. We attacked the boards and it gave us a big rebounding edge."


For the second-straight contest the Huskies were dominate in the lane as they scored 60 points in the paint, compared to just ten for the Thunder. Northern Illinois starting backcourt of Smallwood, Staten and Rome Sanders (Chicago / Curie) combined for 44 points. The Huskies' offense allowed the perimeter players to drive to the basket as guards P.J. Smith (Maywood / Proviso East) and Eugene "Jay" Bates (Chicago / Robeson) were able to get to the hole.


Bates reached double-digits with 12 points while adding a team-high four steals as Northern Illinois scored 26 points off 17 Thunder turnovers. Second on the squad with 15 points was guard Al Sewasciuk (Summit / Argo) with all of his points coming courtesy of the three-pointer. Freshman Todd Peterson (Pekin) canned a trio of three-pointers as part of his 12 points. Smith rounded out the Huskies in double digits with ten markers.


Posting a double-double for the Thunder was former NBA standout for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Craig Ehlo as he scored 11 points and grabbed ten rebounds. Leading NBC in the scoring column was former Washington State University Cougar Tamir Hasan with 18 points as one of four Thunder players to reach double figures.


"It was fun to play versus somebody who played against Michael Jordan," Peterson said.


Northern Illinois was in control of the game from the onset, jumping out to a quick 6-0 advantage before extending the lead to double-digits (23-13) on a three-pointer by Peterson. NBC would get the deficit under ten points twice the rest of the game on a three-pointer by Jackie Johnson (31-23) and one from Brain Foland (37-29).


The Huskies went into the locker room with a 15-point lead (47-32) and extended that margin to 20 points within the first two minutes of the second half. NIU's advantage grew to as many as 34 points (88-54) on a Staten lay-up.


Next up for the Huskies is the season opener against Winthrop at 6 p.m. (CST) in the first game of the NABC Classic in Madison, WI. NIU will then play either Wisconsin or Eastern Washington on Saturday at either 6 or 8 p.m.


--Copy by Michael Smoose





Frazier Corner Promotions Follow The Huskies Fan Guide Recruits Shop