Sophomore wing Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) scored a career-best 19 points but the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team fell to UW Milwaukee, 82-69, on Sunday afternoon in the NIU Invitational at the NIU Convocation Center.
Milwaukee finished the weekend 3-0 to claim the tournament title.
Bowie went 6-of-9 from the field and 7-of-11 from the charity stripe en route to a career high, bettering his previous mark of 16 set in the season opener, the sophomore from Milwaukee also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
“We had an unbelievable start to the game, I thought we found our offensive rhythm right away,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “We got stops, we got out running and then they slowed us down with their 2-3 zone and we got a little stagnant. They made some plays and we didn’t respond. I thought we lost the game today on those 17 turnovers. We want to keep that under 12 and the 17 hurt us today.”
The Huskies came into the contest averaging just 10 turnovers a game, but the 17 NIU miscues turned into 24 Milwaukee points. The Panthers had just eight turnovers resulting in 11 points for NIU.
NIU (1-3) jumped out to a quick start, taking an 11-2 lead in the opening four minutes of the contest. Bowie had four of the 11 as the Huskies took an early nine-point advantage.
The Huskie lead reached 14, 21-7, on a triple from junior guard Aaron Armstead (Chicago, Ill./Hales Franciscan/San Jose City College) with 10:52 left in the first half. Less than two minutes later, Bowie went to the bench with his second foul of the half.
Aaron Armstead finished with nine points for the Huskies.
After the second foul on Bowie, Milwaukee (4-1) went on an 11-3 run to cut the NIU lead to just a half-dozen, 24-18. Malcolm Moore came off the Panther bench to score five during the run; Moore finished the game with a team-high 15 points on 4-of-4 shooting, including 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
A three from Steve McWhorter trimmed the Huskie lead to just a pair, 28-26, with three minutes to play in the half and the Panthers regained the lead, 29-28, with a pair of free throws a minute later.
Milwaukee took a 35-32 lead into the intermission. Moore and McWhorter each had 12 to pace the Panthers in the opening 20 minutes; Bowie had 11 to lead NIU.
The lead went back-and-forth early in the second half, with neither team leading by more than five. A triple from freshman guard Aaric Armstead (Chicago, Ill./La Jolla Prep) brought the Huskies within one, 62-61, with 8:38 to play but J.J. Panoske answered with a three for Milwaukee.
NIU got back within three, 65-62, on a free throw by sophomore Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium), but that was as close as the Huskies would get as Milwaukee closed on a 17-7 run, including going 10-of-12 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes, to hold off the Huskies.
Baker finished with seven points, a game-high four assists and two rebounds. He was named to the NIU Invitational All-Tournament Team, along with Jordan Aaron and Matt Tiby of Milwaukee and Andrey Semenov and Ron Curry of James Madison.
Following a week off, NIU will return to action Sunday, Nov. 24, when it hosts Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) at the NIU Convocation Center. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.
For more information on NIU men’s basketball and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.