The Northern Illinois men’s basketball team fell, 96-34, to Purdue in its season opener on Friday night on rededication night at Mackey Arena.
Senior forward Tim Toler (Indianapolis, Ind./Avon/Danville Area CC) led the Huskies with 11 points.
Freshman wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) added nine points while freshman forward Kevin Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. Purdue was led by All-American Robbie Hummel who scored a game-high 21 points.
“We ran into a really good team tonight,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “Matt Painter is a really good head coach, his team always plays hard. I was happy to see Robbie Hummel (return), I hoped he wouldn’t be this good, but he definitely got them started and they are going to be a good ball club this season.”
The tenacious Boilermaker defense helped force NIU into 24.6 percent (14-of-57) shooting from the field and 28 turnovers as Purdue won its 18th-straight home game at Mackey Arena, tied for the third-longest home win streak in venue history.
Purdue jumped out to a quick start, scoring the first seven points of the contest before Nader got the Huskies on the scoreboard with a jumper from the right elbow.
The Boilermaker lead grew to 18-2 with 13:37 to play in the first half as Purdue opened the game 4-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc.
Following a timeout, Nader found sophomore guard Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) at the basket to end the 11-0 Purdue run. The Huskies slowed down the Boilermaker momentum following the Bolin bucket, holding Purdue without a field goal for nearly five minutes.
Purdue pushed its lead to 46-17 with a 15-2 run late in the first half before Toler buried a triple from the wing just before the buzzer as the sounded to end the opening 20 minutes.
The Boilermakers shot 44.1 percent in the first half (15-of-34), including 46.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc (6-of-13), while holding NIU to just 26.7 percent shooting (8-of-30).
Purdue was red-hot out of the locker room in the second half, connecting on three triples in the first two minutes. The Boilermakers made 8-of-15 three-point attempts in the second half and finished the game 14-of-28 from beyond the arc.
Northern Illinois will return home on Monday night, Nov. 14, when the Huskies host UW-Milwaukee in their home opener. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m., at the NIU Convocation Center.