Senior Chuks Iroegbu sparked the Huskies off the bench with 15 points, junior Aaric Armstead added 13 and senior Travon Baker chipped in 12 points.
NIU (8-2) led by three in the final . . .
“It was a hard-fought game by both teams,” NIU head coach Mark Montgomery said. “(FIU) is well-coached, they played hard. I think both teams probably thought they won the game. We thought we had it in regulation and they made a NBA three. They probably thought they had it in the first overtime.
“I thought we really executed down the stretch. Our guys did not panic. The free-throw line almost cost us. You can’t shoot 52 percent, miss all those free throws and expect to win a game, but credit our guys for making plays, playing hard, sharing the ball and coming up with key stops.”
The Huskies shot 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from the field in the two overtimes combined, while holding FIU to just 25 percent (3-of-12) shooting in the extra sessions to pull out the victory.
With just over four minutes to play in regulation, Armstead split a pair from the free-throw line to even the game at 50. The lead swung back-and-forth between the Huskies and Panthers and Maric went to the free-throw line with 18 seconds remaining and NIU in front by one, 56-55. The sophomore from Croatia made both free throws to give NIU a three-point lead, but Elmo Stephen drained a triple with five seconds left in regulation to pull FIU even, 58-58.
NIU had a chance to win it just before the buzzer to end regulation, but a triple try by senior Michael Orris came up empty and the game went to overtime.
In the first overtime, NIU and FIU both started slowly on the offensive end. NIU led 61-60 heading into the final minute but a short corner jumper from Donte McGill gave the lead back to FIU, 62-61, with 33 seconds to play.
McGill finished with a game-high 23 points for the Panthers.
After an empty possession by the Huskies, NIU fouled to send Kimar Williams to the line for FIU. Williams made a pair as the Panthers took a 64-61 lead with 18 seconds to play.
NIU exchanged a pair of quick layups by Orris and Iroegbu with two more free throws by FIU as the Huskies trimmed the lead to one, 66-65, with 6.9 seconds left.
After starting the extra session 6-of-6 from the line, FIU split a pair and Baker raced the length of the court for a layup with 0.7 seconds left to tie the game at 67 and force a second overtime.
Maric opened the period with a bucket for the Huskies but NIU answered with the next four to take a 71-69 lead with just under four minutes to play in overtime number two. Another basket by Maric pulled the Huskies even before Daviyon Draper split a pair of free throws to give FIU a 72-71 lead with 2:25 to play.
On the next possession, Armstead buried a triple -- just the third of the night for the Huskies -- to put NIU in front, 74-72. The Huskies would hold the Panthers scoreless in the final two minutes of the second overtime and hang on for the victory.
Four Panthers scored in double figures, led by McGill’s 23 points; Stephen added 15 for NIU, Williams chipped in 13 and Draper finished with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
NIU will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 22, as the Huskies close the Pre-Christmas portion of their schedule against Roosevelt University. Game time against the Lakers is slated for 7 p.m.
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics)