It was a much needed 87-69 victory at the Convo.
The two Huskies that needed to have good games had them. These players would be Xavier Silas and Jake Anderson.
X had 19 points and 7 rebounds. Yes, he does need to improve a bit on 6 of 17 shooting, but he was 7 of 7 from the charity stripe. He was a dominant force all game in the middle and made a statement with a mean dunk in the 1st half.
This was by far the best performance of his VERY short career as a Huskie. NIU has played in 9 games and Silas has only played in 4 of them. Nobody knows how healthy his shooting hand really is, but he is a warrior for coming out and battling. It was very clear that this team is going to go as far as Silas is willing to take them. He makes his FTs, the team is going to follow suit with 71% from the line. He's going to attack the basket, Kowal and the other big men are going to attack the basket as well.
Jake was good Jake and it was all good with him scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 boards along with 3 steals and 2 assists. The only bad part of his game was the 5 turnovers he had without even getting to the line one time. That needs to stop.
Back to Kowal. He was impressive as hell to me in this game. He was all over the court putting back baskets, posterizing people with dunks and grabbing 5 boards. All in all he scored 12 points and was a dominating force. I was impressed and so were the announcers. As long as he puts his mind to it, he can be a star come conference play.
The only stat that we didn't win was 3-pointers. We continued to struggle only making 3 of 15.
Overall it was a game that Northern Illinois needed to win and did. Mike DiNunno actually played decent with 4 assists, despite his daily bricks from 3. Tyler Storm only played 5 minutes, but it was of very mature basketball. The next game for the Huskies is a week and a day against the Temple Owls at home. That may be one of the more crucial games of non-conference play. It is imminent that we play a close game on our home turf, er hardwood to offset the disaster that was the roadtrip to UIC in the last game.
There is still hope for conference play. That hope comes in three: Jake Anderson, Xavier Silas & Sean Kowal.