Sophomore Aaric Armstead scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Huskies, junior Darrell Bowie added 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while junior Chuks Iroegbu chipped in a career-best 15 points.
NIU dominated the glass against the longer Blue Demons, outrebounding DePaul 34-22, but DePaul’s 50 percent (11-of-22) shooting from beyond the arc was too much to overcome.
“You have to give DePaul a lot of credit,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “They were coming off a big win against Stanford and their press really bothered us. I thought we prepared for it, but I think we caught them on their best night shooting threes; 11 out of 22 in exceptional.
Bowie helped the Huskies get off to a good start, scoring four early points with three rebounds as NIU led 10-6 early on. After the Blue Demons took their first lead of the night, 11-10, Bowie answered with a running bank shot and then came up with a steal and found junior Travon Baker ahead of the pack to push the Huskies back in front by three.
DePaul went back in front before back-to-back baskets by Iroegbu put NIU back on top, 19-17, just before the midway point of the opening half.
The Blue Demons answered with a 13-0 run to take a 30-19 lead with 7:21 to play in the first half. With what would become a theme all night, DePaul (4-1) hit a pair of triples during the burst.
NIU (3-2) used an 8-0 run to cut the DePaul lead to just a half-dozen, 35-29, before a triple at the buzzer by Forrest Robinson gave the Blue Demons a nine-point lead, 38-29, at the intermission.
Bowie led the Huskies with nine points and six rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. Billy Garrett Jr. also had nine to pace DePaul.
Aaric Armstead opened the scoring the second half with a bucket for the Huskies, cutting the DePaul lead to just seven, but the Blue Demons answered with the next nine to take a 47-31 lead with just under 17 minutes left before pair of free throws and a layup on the break by Iroegbu helped NIU moved the DePaul lead back to a dozen.
Shooting 69 percent from the field in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, DePaul stretched its lead to 18, 59-41.
Bowie started an 8-0 Huskie burst as Aaric Arsmtead and sophomore Michael Orris each canned trifectas to cut the DePaul lead back to nine, 63-54. But that was as close as the Huskies could get as Garrett made four free throws to extend the DePaul lead back to double figures.
Garrett and Mike Henry led five Blue Demons in double figures with 15 points. Forrest Robinson added 14 off the bench and Jamee Crockett and Tommy Hamilton each added 13 for the Blue Demons.
Following a break for finals, the Huskies will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 13, when they travel to Charleston, Ill., to face Eastern Illinois. Game time against the Panthers is scheduled for 7 p.m.
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics/MRO Edit)