DEKALB, Ill -- Will Sullivan provided Miami with a team-high 14 points, including four crucial free throws down the stretch, as the RedHawks edged Northern Illinois 60-55 in Mid-American Conference action Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center.
It was Miami’s first road win of the season and just the second home loss of 2014-15 for the Huskies.
Northern Illinois (8-9, 2-4 MAC) was coming off a big 64-61 win over Akron in mid-week action. But the Huskies hit 51.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from distance in that game. At the same time, they held Akron to 36.7 percent overall and 32 percent (9-of-28) on threes.
It was a much different story against MU. While the RedHawks were a pedestrian 38.5 (5-of-13) from behind the arc, they made 21-of-43 (48.8 percent) overall.
Moreover, NIU slipped to 33.3 percent (17-of-51) from the field and a frustrating 16.7 percent on treys after launching 30 and making just five.
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The final tie came at 2:08 when NIU’s Anthony Johnson hit a step-back jumper along the baseline to make it a 54-all game. Northern Illinois, however, would score just one more point the rest of the way. The Huskies missed four field goal attempts (all threes) and one of two free throws down the stretch. Miami, meanwhile, broke the 54-all tie with an Eric Washington layup before opening the door for NIU by missing four straight free throws. When the Huskies were unable to take advantage, Sullivan closed out the RedHawk win with four free throws.
Joining Sullivan in double figures were Washington (12) and Logan McLane (11).
Aaron Armstead paced Northern Illinois with 15 points. The senior connected on 6-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-8 on treys. Johnson was the only other Huskie in double figures. He netted an even dozen after hitting 5-of-8 from the field, including 1-of-4 trey attempts.
Miami jumped out to an early 7-0 lead following a Sullivan three, a Kalif Wright layup and Logan McLane’s jumper.
Johnson got NIU on the board with a bucket at 18:04 and the Huskies chipped away until Chucks Iroegbu’s three-ball tied things at 13-all. The game was tied again twice before Miami took the lead on a McLane three, followed by two Zach McCormick free throws. The RedHawks then maintained small leads through the remainder of the half and owned a 29-27 advantage at the break.
Northern Illinois pulled in front (35-33) for the first time at 16:56 following a layup by Darrel Bowie. The junior swingman scored six of NIU’s first eight points after intermission.
Both teams had small leads and there were three ties before Miami took the lead for good with a Sullivan three at 6:37. That put the visitors up 46-43, and they held off Northern Illinois the rest of the way.
Miami has another big MAC West road challenge ahead of it as meets Toledo Tuesday (7 p.m. ET). Northern Illinois will be at Bowling Green (7 p.m. ET).