Huskies hand CMU second home loss, 74-61 - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Huskies hand CMU second home loss, 74-61

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Box Score | Postgame Press Conference

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Northern Illinois hit a layup at the halftime buzzer to take a one-point lead after holding Central Michigan without a field goal for the final six minutes of the half, and went on to win 74-61 and hand the Chippewas just their second loss at home this season.

"I have to give credit to Northern Illinois who came in here with a conference road win and now they have two," said CMU head coach Keno Davis. "You are starting to see there is not as big a distance between teams in the conference as you might find in other years.

They came in with a great game plan, executed, and played extremely hard. The Chippewas (9-9, 2-3 MAC) scored their last five points of the half from the line and turned a two-point deficit into a one-point lead in the final 30 seconds, but a layup by Kevin Gray put the Huskies (4-13, 2-3 MAC) up 32-31 heading into the break.

The second half continued at the line for the Chippewas but Kyle Randall broke the dry spell from the floor with a fastbreak layup at the 18:28 mark for Central Michigan's first field goal since 6:36.

The bucket tied the game at 37 and Randall's free throw a minute later tied it again at 38. The seventh tie of the game would prove to be the last as the Huskies scored the next six points then jumped out to a 48-41 lead with 12:41 remaining.

The Chippewas clawed back within two with 11:47 left and again with 10:22 remaining, 50-48, but the Huskies used a 12-1 run to lead go up 13, 62-49, with just over five minutes left.

At the start of the game it didn't appear the Chippewas would have trouble from the field as six of their first seven field goals were drained from behind the arc–by six different players. They maintained a lead for a majority of the first half, with an advantage as large as 10 for a brief time midway through the period but the late shooting drought before halftime continued into the second half.

After a 6-of-9 start from three-point range they hit just 3-of-17 the rest of the way, ending the night 9-of-26 (.346) from three and 16-of-49 (.327) overall.

Randall led the Chippewas with 12 points and Finis Craddock added 11 on 3-of-5 shooting. The Huskies were led by Abdel Nader's 23 points.

"For the most part this year we have brought great intensity each night whether we are playing Michigan or Michigan-Dearborn," Davis said. "Tonight there were stretches where you saw some of the growing up we need to do. Sometimes you get better from the losses more than you do the wins."

CMU will host a double header in McGuirk Arena Saturday when the women face Akron at 2 p.m. and the men take on Western Michigan at 7 p.m.