Junior Aaric Armstead scored a team-high 14 points and sophomore Marin Maric recorded his fifth consecutive double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds as the Huskies improved to 18-8 overall, 7-6 in Mid-American Conference play. NIU’s 18 victories marks the most for the program since winning 20 during the 1995-96 season.
Senior Travon Baker . . .
“When we had patience and we shared the ball, we were very effective,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “I thought we got sloppy at times but, all-in-all, a lot of guys contributed and we got a lot of good basketball out of a number of players.
“It was good to see Marin Maric get another double-double, Aaric Armstead continues to play well and Marshawn Wilson gave us a big boost in the first half.”
Spencer Parker and Wes Alcegaire each scored 14 points to lead Bowling Green; Antwon Lillard added 13 points for the Falcons.
Tied at five, freshman Marshawn Wilson and Armstead knocked down back-to-back triples to push the Huskie advantage to a half-dozen before sophomore Andrew Zelis added a short jumper to give the Huskies a 13-5 lead with 15:11 to play in the first half.
Wilson finished with 12 points and also collected a trio of assists and a trio of steals.
Bowling Green (13-13, 4-9 MAC) trimmed the NIU lead to four, 17-13, until a triple from Baker and back-to-back layups from freshman Jaylen Key pushed the Huskie advantage to 24-13 with 8:39 left before the half.
A 7-2 burst by the Falcons cut the Huskie lead to just three, 28-25, with 2:47 left until the intermission, but NIU scored seven of the next nine, including six from Wilson, as the Huskie lead grew to eight, 35-27, with 1:36 to play.
The teams traded triples and Bowling Green scored the final basket of the half to make it 38-32 at the half. Wilson led all scorers with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Huskies shot 46.4 percent (13-of-28), including 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three.
The Huskies scored the first six out of the locker room to push the lead to a dozen, 44-32. NIU held Bowling Green without a field goal for over eight minutes to start the second half as the Huskies built a 51-34 lead.
Bowling Green trimmed the deficit to a dozen just past the midway point of the second half, but Armstead responded with a triple and freshman Laytwan Porter added a layup off a feed from Baker as the Huskies pushed the lead to 17 and never looked back.
Porter finished with seven points and three assists off the bench; freshman Levi Bradley added eight points in a reserve role.
Northern Illinois at Ball State (Friday, 6:30 ET)
Bowling Green at Buffalo (Saturday, Noon ET)
(Courtesy of NIU Athletics)