NIU shot 51.6 percent (33-of-64) in the contest, including 50 percent (10-of-20) from behind the three-point line. The Huskies held Roosevelt to just 38.1 percent (16-of-42) shooting, including just 26.3 percent (5-of-19) in the second half.
Sophomore Marin Maric scored . . .
Freshman Laytwan Porter chipped in a career-best 12 points and four assists, sophomore Andrew Zelis added a career-high 12 points and led the team with a career-best seven rebounds and senior Chuks Iroegbu was also in double figures with 11 points.
“I thought the first five minutes we came out with a great mindset and our starters got us going,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “Our second wave didn’t kick into gear and Roosevelt took the lead. But that is when we got going. You have to credit Roosevelt -- they made shots, they have a very good coach and they made it a ballgame early.
“Once we got multiple stops, we got out running, Marin Maric started scoring around the basket and we made some open shots we got going. Credit Roosevelt, they took the lead and we had to wake up. Maybe our guys were already thinking about Christmas.”
Tied 5-5 in the early going, NIU used a 12-2 burst to take a 17-7 lead with 13:51 to play in the first half. Maric sparked the run with a pair of baskets and an old-fashioned three-point play. Freshman Jaylen Key added a 15-foot jumper and Porter knocked down a triple as the Huskies took a 10-point lead.
Key finished with six points, five rebounds and a career-best four assists.
Roosevelt answered with a 7-0 run of its own to trim the NIU lead to just three, 17-14, with just over 12 minutes to play before the intermission.
Baskets by Korey Ryan and Joshua Dillingham gave Roosevelt a 24-21 lead before the Huskies responded with a 26-5 run to close the half.
Baker opened the run with a midrange jumper, freshman Marshawn Wilson connected on a triple and Zelis added a put-back to give the Huskies a four-point lead until a Roosevelt triple trimmed the lead to just one, 28-27, with 7:12 to play in the half. NIU then scored the next 19, holding the Lakers scoreless for over seven minutes, as the Huskies took a 47-27 lead.
Roosevelt ended the half with a layup from Kevin Priebe to trim the NIU lead to 47-29 at the intermission. Maric led all scorers with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes; Priebe led Roosevelt with 11 points.
After the break, the Huskies scored nine of the first 12 to push their lead to 24, 56-32, less than four minutes into the half. Maric scored seven of the nine, including his first career three-pointer as the Huskies coasted to the 33-point victory.
Priebe and Ryan each scored 11 points to lead Roosevelt; Dillingham scored seven points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds.
NIU will return to action next Tuesday, Dec. 29, as the Huskies travel to Chicago to face UIC. Game time against the Flames is set for 7 p.m.
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics)