Freshman Eugene German added . . .
Central Michigan, which dropped its fourth straight contest, was led by 18 points from Marcus Keene. The nation’s leading scorer, however, went just 4-of-16 from the floor. Joining him in double figures were Cecil Williams (15) and Braylon Rayson (10).
Central Michigan cut the NIU advantage to just a half-dozen until a wing triple from German pushed the Huskie advantage to 18-9 with 11:22 to play in the opening half.
Leading by seven, NIU used a 13-2 run to take a 34-16 lead with just under five minutes to play before halftime. Maric opened the run with a bucket before German added a triple. After a pair from Central Michigan, Key scored the next six, followed by a bucket from sophomore Laytwan Porter, as the Huskies built an 18-point advantage.
NIU’s lead grew to as many as 20 in the final minute of the opening stanza before Central Michigan finished the half with the final four points as the Huskies took a 46-30 lead into the break.
Bradley led all scorers with 11 in the opening 20 minutes; German and Key each added 10 as NIU shot 52.6 percent (20-of-38) from the field in the first half while holding CMU to just 26.7 percent (8-of-30) shooting.
Central Michigan trimmed the NIU advantage to 14 until a layup by Porter and a corner triple from sophomore Austin Pauga pushed the NIU lead to 59-40 with 15:29 to play. The Chippewas answered with the next six, cutting the Huskie lead back to 13.
With the NIU advantage still 13, Maric added a layup, followed by a trifecta from Highsmith on a drive and kick, as NIU led 66-48 with just over 11 minutes to play.
Back-to-back triples from Central Michigan trimmed the Huskie lead to 14, but a layup from Maric and a basket from Bradley quickly pushed the margin up to 18, 78-60, with 6:42 remaining.
The Chippewas would trim the gap to 17 with 4:25 left, but the Huskies scored the next nine to put the game away.
NIU visits Eastern Michigan (Saturday, noon ET). Central Michigan is at Toledo (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics)