I has a shred of hope that Northern Illinois might be able to at least hang with Northwestern, especially since their best player in Kevin Coble was out for the game. Such was extremely far from the case. Instead of a new and improved Huskie team, this was picturesque of exactly what we had to trudge though watching last year.
The Huskies started off very strong with Jake Anderson and Xavier Silas putting the Huskies up by 6 points with 12 minues left in the first half. Also in that first sequence, Sean Kowal picked up 2 fouls and had to ride the bench early. Sean would only play 18 minutes, score 8 pts, grab 3 boards and block 2 shots. Silas also picked up his 2nd foul with 9 mins to go in the 1st. This would be a trend, as both him and Jake would manage to foul out of the game late.
Northwestern switched to the 1-3-1 zone defense and the light went out for the offense. Nothing seemed to work.
The only bright spots were X and Jake the entire game. Silas would finish with 18 pts and 7 rebounds and Jake would score 15, grab 8 boards and dish out 3 assists. Silas had some sort of hand injury that hampered him late in the game. Hopefully it was nothing serious.
Mike Dinunno had 5 assists, but that was it for the positives. He was 0-6 from the field including 0-4 from beyond the arc along with 3 turnovers. Freshman G Tony Nixon made an inauspicious debut playing 26 minutes only scoring 4 pts and hitting a 3 pt try off the side of the backboard. Both Dinunno and Jeremy Landers were launching airballs offensively.
As a team, the Huskies were an embarrassing 2 of 18 from beyond the arc (11%). Silas was only 1 for 7 from three!
The Huskies wouldn't stop hacking as the Wildcats got to the line 48 times and made 70% of their shots. Compare that with NIU's 26 attempts and 50% clip.
Overall, the Huskies turned the ball over 17 times to Northwestern's 9. The miniature PG Keith Smith played only 2 minutes, yet managed to turn the ball over 3x. F Tyler Storm had 3 turnovers in the 16 minutes that he played.
A couple positive aspects were that we managed to stay with the Wildcats in terms of FG % and in rebounding.
The road doesn't get any easier as the Huskies take on the ranked Fighting Illini on Tuesday.