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NIU loses at Iowa State

AMES, Iowa -- The Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team led Iowa State by two at halftime, but the Cyclones shot 61 percent in the second half, including 60 percent from three-point range, as they came back to down the Huskies, 94-80, on Monday night at Hilton Coliseum.

Sophomore Eugene German scored a career-high 28 points, junior Dante Thorpe also had a career-high with 19 while junior Levi Bradley  added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

“Credit Iowa State, I thought we played phenomenal in the first half but then they won that first four-minute (segment) in the second half and got up six,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “We needed a couple of breaks, we needed them to miss a couple of shots that they just didn’t miss tonight.

“I liked our fight, I liked our effort. There is a reason Iowa State is who Iowa State is. This is a tough place to play, the crowd got into the game. We grew up, even though we lost, we grew up some tonight.

German scored NIU’s first five points of the contest as the Huskies led in the early going 10-7. Iowa State trimmed the NIU advantage to just one until junior Anastasios Demogerontas  got a steal and went coast-to-coast for a dunk and Bradley knocked down a triple from the wing to give the Huskies a 15-9 lead with just over 12 minutes to play before the intermission.

Iowa State (5-2) once again pulled within one, but a layup from German and a turnaround jumper from the baseline by Bradley extended the NIU lead back to 23-18 with 8:55 left in the first half.

The Cyclones answered with an 11-2 run to take a 29-25 lead but NIU scored the next four on layups from freshman Owen Hamilton  and German as the Huskies brought the game back level with 4:33 to play before halftime.

Five-straight free throws helped give Iowa State a 36-34 lead in the final minute, but the Huskies closed the half with a bucket by Thorpe and, showing zone for the first time in the half, a steal and a layup from freshman Gairges Daow just before the horn to take a 38-36 lead into halftime.

NIU (5-4) shot 54.8 percent (17-of-31) in the first half while holding Iowa State to just 40 percent (12-of-30) shooting.

Iowa State’s first four baskets of the second half were triples as the Cyclones took a 50-44 lead in the opening four minutes of the second stanza.

A triple by German brought the Huskies back within five, but Iowa State scored 16 of the next 18 as the Cyclones increased their lead to 70-51 just before the midway point of the second half.

NIU cut the Iowa State lead back to a baker’s dozen twice, but didn’t get any closer as the Cyclones had an answer for every Huskie attempt at a comeback.

Donovan Jackson made five triples in the second half for Iowa State, scoring 19 of Iowa State’s 58 points after the intermission. The Cyclones scored 19 fast break points in the second 20 minutes, holding NIU to just two.

Iowa State shot 22-of-36 in the second half (61.1 percent), including 9-of-15 (60 percent) from behind the three-point line

Lindell Wigginton scored 28 points to lead Iowa State, Jackson added 24 while Cameron Lard chipped in 14 and Nick Weiler-Babb scored 12 while dishing out 11 assists.

NIU will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 9, when the Huskies host Central Connecticut State at 12 noon at the NIU Convocation Center.



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