Kalamazoo, Mich. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team displayed some of its finest basketball of the season over the first 17 minutes of Thursday's showdown against Western Michigan as the Huskies built a 36-27 lead over the Broncos and shot 55.2% (16-for-29) from the field in the opening stanza. The hot shooting from Northern Illinois quickly turned cold, as Western Michigan went on a 22-4 run to take control of the game and go on to the 68-54 Mid-American Conference victory over the visiting Huskies at University Arena.
The Broncos turned up the defensive pressure in the final 20 minutes as the Huskies' shot 23.8% (5-for-21) from the field to close out the game. "I thought we played very good basketball for the whole first half," NIU head coach Rob Judson said. "I just have to give Western [Michigan] a tremendous amount of credit. "They really amped up their defense in the second half," Judson said. "They played as well defensively as I have seen in awhile."
WMU freshman guard David Kool led four Broncos in double-figures with 19 points, followed by a double-double from Joe Reitz (13 points, 13 rebounds), 12 points from Derek Drews and 11 points from Andre Ricks. With the victory, Western Michigan improves to 14-15 overall and 8-7 in MAC play, while the Huskies fall to 6-22 on the season and 3-12 in conference action.
NIU senior guard Mike McKinney (Evanston, Ill.) topped the Huskies with 16 points and six rebounds. With those six rebounds, McKinney becomes the first player in Northern Illinois history, since assists were recorded, to notch 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 assists in his career.
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