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Xavier Silas 31 points not enough as Ohio beats Northern Illinois in a shootout

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Game RecapXavier Silas started red hot scoring the Huskies first 15 points of the game.  Ohio took a a 17-15 lead on a 3 pointer by Armon Bassett after a Jake Anderson turnover.  Both teams shot the ball well from the field in the first half which ended in a 40-38 Bobcat lead. 

Silas gave Northern Illinois a 47-45 lead on a three point play early in the second half, the last lead the Huskies would enjoy in the game.  Ohio regained the lead on a basket by D.J. Cooper to make it 49-47. The Huskies kept things close for most of the night, going as far as to tie the game 63-63 with 9:45 left in the second half on a lay up by Mike Dinunno.  On the very next possession, Indiana transfer Armon Basset hit a 3 pointer that started a 36-21 run for the Bobcats to finish the game 99-84.

Player of the game: D.J. Cooper 29 PTS, 3 REB, 6 ASS, 0 TO.  The Bobcats freshman sensation played an amazing game.  He was 5-11 from 3 point range and made crucial baskets to keep the Huskies at arms distance throughout the game.  The 29 points scored were a high for his young career.

Analysis: Disappointing.  The only word that can describe Northern Illinois' loss against an Ohio team that was supposed to be the lesser of the East division teams. 

Not that it was supposed to be an easy game.  But the Bobcats have not been a good team on the road this season and are very young.  NIU has been tough at home, so no one expected the Huskies to lose the way they did.

Northern managed to keep things tight until halfway through the second half, when the Huskies offensive fire power just ran out.

The Huskies played their worst defensive game of the season, and the final score clearly showed it.  Cooper and Basset scored at will all night and even the Bobcats starting frontcourt, which was supposed to be their weakness, finished the game with 38 points combined.  It seemed that Northern was trying to beat Ohio at their own game.  The problem is that the Huskies, outside of Silas, didn't have the consistent scoring to do keep up with the Bobcats fast paced offense.

Sean Kowal, who was back in the starting line up, played a solid game on the defensive end finishing with 3 blocks and 6 defensive rebounds (8 total), but failed to provide the Huskies third scoring threat.  It would be nice to see Kowal finish a game with consistency on both sides of the ball.

Jake Anderson also failed to provide scoring for the Huskies going 2-9 from the field, 1-8 from 3 point land.  Anderson handled some of the point guard duties at times, but even though he finished with 6 assists, I am not convinced he can be a full time PG as he still causes too many turnovers (3 against Ohio) and tends to force too many shots.  

Mike Dinunno had a solid stat line (16 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover) but it was overlooked by the fact that he had a poor shooting night once again ( 6-16 FG, 2-10 3pt) and that he was completely outclassed by Cooper.  With Bryan Hall hurting, the Huskies still have a major problem at PG. 

'Savior Silas' continues to play major minutes and carry the Huskies in scoring.  His 31 points paced the offense, but his defense might have been lacking according to Coach Patton.  For as much of a defensive presence Jeremy Landers is supposed to be, it was interesting to see that he only played 7 minutes last night.

The Huskies have to regroup quickly because things only get harder from here on.  The Huskies were riding high after a 4-1 division record, but with the East going 2-5 against the West so far in crossover play, last night's loss only make things even more discouraging.

Next up: Huskies will host Buffalo on Saturday @12pm.  Saturday is "Cram the Convo", a doubleheader affair with the Women's Basketball Team playing the second game.