BASKETBALL FINAL SCORE: ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 77, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 45
DeKALB, IL - A six-minute stretch without a point spelled disaster for
the Northern Illinois University men's basketball team in its Saturday
(December 28) contest against the University of Illinois-Chicago. Following
a dunk by P.J. Smith, to pull the Huskies within 12 points, the
Flames proceeded to go on a 13-0 run to put the game out of hand as the
visitors prevailed 77-45.
loss is Northern Illinois' second in a row at home as their record falls
to 4-6 on the year. Illinois-Chicago bounces back from only its third
loss of the season to improve its mark to 7-3. The Flames have won the
last three games in the series, but are triumphant for the first time
in DeKalb since the 1997-98 campaign.
thought UIC played great," NIU head coach Rob Judson said. "Their
effort showed. The board effort and field goal percentage defense, those
are effort stats. Defensively they contested every shot and they beat
us on the boards."
main areas plagued the hosts: shooting and rebounding. Northern Illinois
made just six baskets in the second stanza (6-of-23) as their 26.1 percent
shooting led to an overall rate of just 31.4 percent (16-of-51), by far
its lowest of the season. On the glass the Flames dominated the game,
grabbing 20 more rebounds (48-28)-the largest margin for any NIU opponent
this year-including 18 offensive boards.
45 points scored by the Huskies are their fewest since posting 43 markers
in an 81-43 loss to the University of Detroit on February 22, 1997, a
span of 148 games. Not since Miami (OH) University beat Northern Illinois
by a tally of 83-51 have the Huskies had this big of a deficit and it
is also NIU's worst home court loss since an 81-48 defeat at the hands
of Iona College on January 7, 1989.
Illinois only had one player reach double figures on the stat sheet as
Smith (Maywood / Proviso East) posted twin digits for the third straight
game with a team-high 14 points. Forward Rome Sanders (Chicago
/ Curie) was next with nine points while Marcus Smallwood (Elgin)
scored eight and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Redshirt freshman
Bryson McKenzie (Gary / West Side) scored the first points of his
collegiate career on a lay-up with one minute remaining while blocking
a career-high three shots.
different Illinois-Chicago players tallied double figure scoring, led
by forward Armond Williams who posted game highs with a 21-point, 10-rebound
double-double. Jonathan Schneiderman was next with 15 points, including
three three-pointers, while Aaron Carr followed with 14 points and eight
boards. Northern Illinois held the Flames' leading scorer, Cedric Banks
to 12 points below his 19.0 points per game average.
surprised by the margin, but my team can play when we stay focused and
don't do crazy things," UIC floor boss Jimmy Collins said. "Northern
Illinois was out of sync tonight. I applaud my team's defensive effort
tonight. When you shoot that poorly and turn the ball over 15 times, it
has to be the defense."
Throughout the first half the game was back and forth with the Huskies
taking a three-point lead (10-7) on a Smith three pointer. Unfortunately
that would be Northern Illinois' last advantage as the hosts scored just
one point the next four minutes while UIC jumped out to an 18-11 lead.
The Flames went into the locker room with a 40-29 advantage.
the Huskies broke their second-half drought with a five-foot jumper by
Smith, UIC's lead was up to 23 points (60-37), the lowest it would get
the rest of the night. The margin reached as many 37 (77-40) on a Williams
free throw with 2:36 remaining. Northern Illinois scored only 16 points
in the second stanza, its lowest since Eastern Michigan University limited
NIU to just 14 markers in a 51-48 loss on January 16, 1999.
Huskies waste no time in getting back on the court as they travel to Eastern
Illinois University for a 7:10 p.m. tip on Monday (December 30). NIU got
its first road win of the year in 72-65 victory against Illinois State
by Michael Smoose