With the win, NIU improves to 4-3 overall and pushes its home win streak to nine consecutive games dating back to last season. That is NIU’s longest home win streak since the end of the 1993-94 campaign and the beginning of the 1994-95 season when the Huskies also won nine-straight at home.
Senior Jordan Threloff added 10 points and seven rebounds, sophomore Aaric Armstead chipped in 10 points and junior Darrell Bowie had nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
“Our shooting was a lot better tonight; we shot 49 percent from the field. We struggled with our free-throw shooting tonight, we are always very solid on the boards, and we were plus-20 tonight. I thought a lot of guys played solid basketball.”
Leading by a pair midway through the first half, back-to-back layups by Johnson and Bowie stretched the NIU lead to six, 18-12, before a triple by DeAngelo Priar cut the NIU lead in half.
Aaric Armstead extended the Huskie advantage to five before the Delta Devils responded with the next five to even the contest, 20-20, with six minutes to play in the half.
Tied 29-29, Threloff made a free throw, missed the second and Aaric Armstead scored a pair off the offensive rebound to push the Huskies back in front. Aaric Armstead added a layup as the five-point NIU burst gave the Huskies a 34-29 lead with 1:27 to play before the intermission.
A triple by Jordan Washington, his third of the half, helped Mississippi Valley State (1-9) cut the NIU lead to three, 36-33, at the break.
Washington had 15 first half points to keep the Delta Devils close; Bowie had seven in the opening 20 minutes to pace NIU.
The Huskies and Delta Devils traded baskets early in the second half before a jump hook by senior Pete Rakocevic ignited a 17-1 run for NIU, giving the Huskies a 58-40 lead, their largest of the contest, with 10:51 to play.
Rakocevic finished with six points, five rebounds, three blocks and an assist in 17 minutes off the bench.
Senior Aaron Armstead followed Rakocevic’s jump hook with a pair of triples from the wing to push the NIU lead to double-digits, 49-39. Aaron Armstead scored nine points off the bench as the Huskie reserves outscored the Mississippi Valley State bench, 25-10.
Threloff made a pair of free throws to give NIU the 18-point edge before Priar knocked down a triple for the Delta Devils.
The NIU lead was 17, 63-46, with less than eight minutes to play when Mississippi Valley State used a 13-2 run of its own to pull back within six, 65-59, with 3:26 left.
Threloff and Aaric Armstead both scored on offensive rebounds on back-to-back possessions to push the NIU lead back to 10. The Huskies scored 20 second-chance points on 16 offensive rebounds to just three on six offensive boards for Mississippi Valley State.
Northern Illinois still led by 10 when Washington hit a triple in the final seconds to cut the final margin to seven, 71-64. Washington finished with a game-high 21 points. Priar added 17 for the Delta Devils.
NIU will return to the road on Friday as it travels to Hanover, N.H., to face Dartmouth. Game time against the Big Green is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics/MRO Edit)