DEKALB, Illinois – Bowling Green shot 60.8 percent (31-of-51) from the field, including 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the three-point range when the Falcons defeated the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team 92-83 on Tuesday night ( January 18) at the NIU Convocation Center.
Keshawn Williams (Chicago Heights, Illinois/Tulsa) scored a career-best 32, 12-of-16 from the field, 5-of-6 out of three, but the Falcons had six players scoring in double figures, with 21 points leading the way. Samari Curtis.
“Tonight’s game was a story of two halves,” said NIU . head coach Rashon Burno. “We executed our game plan in the first half minus the free throws, we had a good flow to our pace. With a team like Bowling Green you want to be really smart and strategic with how much you get up and down. We tried smart and to be aware of that, but we didn’t come out to play in the first four minutes (of the second half).”
NIU (5-9, 2-2 MAC) and Bowling Green went into halftime with 32, but the Falcons scored the first five points of the second half through Daeqwon Plowden. The Huskies retreated even with 39 as Caleb Thornton scored from a turnover, but Bowling Green answered with the next seven, taking a 46–39 lead five minutes into the second half.
Thornton finished with 13 points and a career-high nine assists.
Bowling Green’s lead (9-8, 2-4 MAC) grew to nine on another Plowden basket before a Williams triple narrowed Falcon’s lead to half a dozen.
Williams becomes the first Huskie to score 30 or more points in a game since Eugene German had 31 against Bowling Green in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on March 15, 2019.
Still leading six, the Falcons batted in three consecutive triples as the visitor widened to 66-51 just past the halfway point of the second stanza.
The Huskies responded quickly with seven-straight, ignited by a Hankerson jumper. Williams scored from a turnover and Thornton canned a trifecta as NIU cut Bowling Green’s lead to 66-58.
Hankerson scored 11 points in the game and went 4-of-6 from the field.
Curtis scored the next, however, converting both an old-fashioned three-point play and a conventional triple to give the Falcons the lead, 72-58, with 7:24 to go.
NIU shot 54.1 percent (20-of-37) from the field in the second half, including 50 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range, but couldn’t keep up with Bowling Green’s 70.4 percent (19- of -27) shooting in the second 20 minutes.
Plowden finished with 17 points ahead of Bowling Green, Treg Diggs chipped in 16, Josiah Fulcher scored 13 points, Matiss Kulackovskis had 12 and Myron Gordon finished with 10 points and a team-high six assists.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the first half, as the score stood at seven halfway through the opening score. Bowling Green built a whopping eight lead late in the first half, but NIU finished with an 8-0 run to pull even into the break.
Sole Kuetho (Gallatin, Tenn./Pratt CC) made a triple to start the burst, Chinedu Kingsley Okanu (Lynwood, Illinois/Vincennes University) added a layup and Kueth made his second triple when the Huskies and Falcons tied at 32 after 20 minutes.
The next day for the Huskies will be a pair of road races starting on Saturday, January 22, when they travel to Oxford, Ohio to meet Miami. NIU will then visit Ohio on Tuesday, January 25, before returning home to host Ball State on Thursday, January 27 in a rescheduled December game.
Huskie basketball tickets are on sale now, including Huskie Flex Plans. Purchase vouchers for $6 each and use them all season to attend men’s and women’s Huskie basketball games. Easily exchange vouchers for tickets at the box office prior to the match. Tickets can be purchased online at NIUHuskies.com/MyHuskies or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at 815-753-PACK (7225).