Freshman forward Keith Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) scored a career-best 15 points and tied a career-high with seven rebounds, but the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team fell, 90-56, on Wednesday night at the M.A.C. Center.
“They got off to such a great start,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “We started off down 10-0 and only got one shot in the first five or six possessions. When you are a young team and you don’t get off to a good start a lot of times it becomes a long night.”
Kent State shot 57.1 percent (32-of-56) in the contest, including 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from behind the three-point arc, while holding NIU to 35.2 percent shooting (19-of-54) and 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from three.
The Huskies out-rebounded Kent State, 38-29, including 17 offensive rebounds, but the Golden Flashes forced 22 NIU turnovers while committing just 13 of their own.
Kent State was led by 15 points from Kris Brewer, Chris Evans, Justin Greene and Randal Holt each added 14 points for the Golden Flashes. Michael Porrini had eight points and nine assists for Kent State.
Kent State raced out to a 12-0 lead to open the contest before junior guard Tony Nixon (South Holland, Ill./Seton Academy) got NIU started with a triple from the wing. The Golden Flashes lead reached 21-3 before the Huskies began to settle into the contest after a pair of baskets by Ford.
Chris Evans led all scorers with 10 points for Kent State in the opening 20 minutes; Ford led NIU with eight points. The Golden Flashes shot 64.3 percent (18-of-28) in the first half while the Huskies shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26).
NIU will return to DeKalb at noon Saturday, Jan. 28, when the Huskies host Buffalo in the first game of a doubleheader that also features the NIU women hosting Kent State at 2:30 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.