DeKALB, Ill. – The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team struggled at both ends of the floor in a 93-62 blowout loss to Northern Illinois in a Mid-American Conference contest at NIU’s Convocation Center Tuesday.
The Falcons offense made just 6-of-21 3-pointers, connected on just 14-of-28 free throws and turned the ball over 13 times for its second-lowest point total of the season. Meanwhile the defense allowed the Huskies to shoot 61.3 percent from the field, including a scorching 75.9 percent in the second half, as NIU scored 58 points in the second half alone.
Rodrick Caldwell finished 13 points to lead the Falcons (12-8, 3-4 MAC), while Springfield High School product Demajeo Wiggins added 11.
Northern Illinois (10-10, 3-4 MAC) got points from 10 different players, with five finishing in double figures. Eugene German scored 19 points to lead the Huskies; Lacey James had 15 points for NIU while Levi Bradley scored 14, Dante Thorpe 12 and Justin Thomas 10.
The start of the game was a tight affair that featured four ties and eight lead changes in the first 10 minutes. The last lead change came when NIU’s James scored five straight points as part of a 7-0 run that gave the Huskies a 23-17 lead with 8:18 left.
Northern Illinois led by as many as 10 points late in the half, and a basket by Wiggins at the first-half buzzer made the score 35-28 Huskies.
The two teams exchanged baskets to start the second half before NIU’s Noah McCarty made a 3-pointer, then a fast-break layup to give the Huskies a 46-35 advantage when the Falcons called time at 14:27 of the period.
McCarthy made a pair of free throws coming out of the timeout, and Bowling Green seemed to rally when Daeqwon Plowden and Derek Koch made layups to cut the deficit to nine.
But the Falcons came no closer as NIU responded with a 14-1 run that made the score 62-40 with 9:07 to play. After a basket by BG’s Nellie Cummings slowed but did not stop the run as the Huskies outscored the Falcons 31-12 over the next seven minutes by making 11-of-12 field goals, including five 3-pointers.
German scored 16 of his points in that run, which saw Northern Illinois score on 14 straight possessions at one point to lead 93-54 with 1:53 left before the Falcons scored the game’s final eight points.
Bowling Green returns to action Saturday when it plays arch-rival Toledo at Savage Arena in a contest that will start at 7 p.m.
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