Sophomore Eugene German scored . . .
“It was a hard-fought game, but you have to give Milwaukee credit, we just weren’t tough enough on the defensive end,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery.
“They shoot 63 percent in the second half, 57 percent for the game, they outrebound us by 14, they get 19 second-chance points, we get six. It’s hard to win game when you are playing from behind and they are shooting the ball at a 63 percent clip.
“I thought our guys fought; they just didn’t have enough in the tank tonight. Credit Milwaukee, they made big plays.”
An early 10-0 run helped Milwaukee (5-2) take a 12-4 lead in the opening six minutes of the contest. With the Panther advantage cut to six, NIU used a 7-2 burst to pull within one, 21-20, with just under eight minutes to play before the intermission.
German knocked down a triple during the run, sophomore Justin Thomas added a free throw and Thorpe capped the spurt with a three.
A basket by McCarty brought NIU (4-3) within one again, 31-30, but the Panthers answered with a triple to push their lead back to four. The teams would split the final six points of the half as Milwaukee took a 37-33 lead into halftime.
Milwaukee’s lead swung between six and one through the first 10 minutes of the second half until, trailing by four, NIU scored five-straight to take its first lead of the second half.
Thorpe made a layup to cut the lead to just a pair and freshman Gairges Daow knocked in a triple off a feed from Thorpe as NIU moved in front 52-51 with just over nine minutes remaining.
The Panthers answered right back with the next six to take a five-point lead, 57-52. NIU cut the Milwaukee lead to just two on a basket by German with 4:47 left, but that is as close as the Huskies would get in the final minutes as the Panthers closed the game on an 8-0 run to help create the final 13-point margin.
Milwaukee went 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) from the field in the second half, along with 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, while holding the Huskies to just 14-of-34 shooting (41.2 percent), including 1-of-9 from three and just 0-of-1 from the charity stripe. The Panthers outrebounded the Huskies in the second half, 22-8.
Brett Prahl led five Panthers in double figures with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jeremy Johnson added 13 points, Brock Stull chipped in 12, Carson Warren-Newsome scored 11 and Bryce Barnes had 10 points for Milwaukee.
NIU will go on the road for its next two, beginning Saturday, Dec. 2, when the Huskies travel to Chicago State. Game time against the Cougars is set for 2 p.m.
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics)