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Men’s hoops races past Aurora in exhibition tilt

November 4, 2012
Keith Gray

Keith Gray

Six players scored in double figures, led by 12 each from sophomore forward Kevin Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) and freshman guard Mike Davis (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) as the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team defeated Aurora University, 89-56, in an exhibition contest Saturday night at the NIU Convocation Center.

“I thought that we shared the ball well, we got out and ran,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery.

“Both Keith and Kevin Gray set the tone early and anytime that you can get a ‘W’ you are happy. There are a lot of things that you can get out of an exhibition game. Defensively you can look at your transition defense, did you switch out the right way. We will look at the film tomorrow and see how we can be sharper heading into next Friday.”

Freshman guard J.J. Cravatta (Streator, Ill./Streator Township) added 11 points while freshman guard Akeem Springs (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township and freshman wing Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) each added 10 points.

Sophomore forward Keith Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) also scored 10 points, including a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Kevin Gray was also perfect from the field, shooting 5-of-5.

Freshman guard Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) led the Huskies with five assists, freshman guard Daveon Balls (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) added four assists and eight points.

Northern Illinois shot 56.7 percent (34-of-60) from the field and 76.2 percent (16-of-21) from the free-throw line while holding Aurora to just 28.1 percent shooting (18-of-64).

Kevin Gray got NIU off to a quick start with the six points of the contest, giving the Huskies an early lead.

Holding an 8-4 advantage, NIU used a 13-3 run to push its lead to 21-7 with 11:34 to play in the first half. Bowie and Springs each had a pair of baskets during the run; Cravatta added a triple as the Huskies took a 14-point lead.

Cravatta connected on three of NIU’s five 3-point field goals in the contest.

Aurora pulled back within 10, 30-20, with 7:24 to play in the first half but the Huskies ended the opening stanza with a 17-6 burst to take a 47-26 lead into the intermission.

Kevin Gray led all scorers with 10 points in the first half as the Huskies shot 63.6 percent from the field (21-of-33) in the opening 20 minutes. Marious Lobdell paced the Spartans with eight points in the first half.

The Huskies scored the first 19 points to begin the second half, extending their lead to 66-26 on a Cravatta triple with 14:30 to play in the contest. Aurora ended its scoring drought at the 14:17 mark on a basket by Scott Laskowski.

Lobdell finished with 12 points to lead Aurora. Laskowski and Joel Iventosch each chipped in nine points for the Spartans.

Northern Illinois will open the regular season next Friday, Nov. 9, when it travels to Nebraska Omaha. Game time against the Mavericks is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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