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Men’s hoops falls to hot-shooting Iowa

November 18, 2011
Abdel Nader

Abdel Nader

Freshman wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) scored a career-best 18 points, but the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team fell at Iowa, 88-55, on Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes shot 54.1 percent (33-of-61) from the field in the contest, including 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from outside the three-point arc.

Senior forward Tim Toler (Indianapolis, Ind./Avon/Danville Area CC) nearly recorded a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

“I thought that our team shot the ball well in the first half,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “But you have to give Iowa credit; they shot the ball even better. I thought we rebounded the ball well and we did a better job with our turnovers tonight. In the second half I thought that we ran out of gas and Iowa turned it up a notch. You have to credit their shooters, they did a great job tonight.”

After falling behind 4-0 early, the Huskies responded with a basket from Nader and a triple by Toler. Toler added two more jumpers to help NIU to an 11-9 lead four minutes into the game.

Out of a timeout, Iowa scored five-straight until a Nader layup cut the Hawkeye lead back to one, 14-13. The Hawkeyes responded with a 9-3 burst to lead 23-16 with 11:42 to play in the first half. Despite the deficit, NIU started the game 7-of-8 from the field.

Still leading by seven, Iowa used a 9-0 run to push its lead to 37-21. Back-to-back trifectas from Nader and sophomore guard Antone Christian (Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet) helped NIU pull the Hawkeye advantage back to 37-27 with 3:25 to play before the intermission.

Iowa finished the half with a 12-3 run to take a 49-30 lead into the break.

Nader and Iowa’s Matt Gatens each had 11 points in the first half to lead the way, Toler added 10 for the Huskies. The Hawkeyes shot 62.1 percent (18-of-29) in the opening 20 minutes, including 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) from beyond the arc. NIU shot 52.2 percent (12-of-23) in the opening half, 4-of-10 from three-point range.

Christian knocked down a pair of free throws to open the second half, but Iowa came back with a 13-2 run to push its lead to 62-34 with 15 minutes remaining.

NIU shot just 22.6 percent (7-of-31) in the second half, but the Huskies turned the ball over just six times in the final 20 minutes.

Northern Illinois will return home to the NIU Convocation Center at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, when the Huskies host Eastern Illinois. The contest is a doubleheader with the NIU women, who will host Temple at 3:30 p.m.

For more information on NIU men’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit