Huskies Rally Past MAC Leading Buffalo in Overtime

By Published: 2/11/2018 7:36:51 AM Custom Tag

Courtesy: Northern Illinois Athletics

DEKALB, Ill. -- Sophomore Eugene German (Gary, Ind./21st Century Charter) banked home a game-winner with four seconds left as the Northern Illinois University men's basketball team topped first-place Buffalo, 90-88, in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the NIU Convocation Center.

NIU trailed by 13 with a little over eight minutes to play in regulation before storming back to snap a 13-game Buffalo winning streak in the series.

German finished with a game-high 28 points, including 8-of-11 shooting from inside the three-point arc, and a team-high seven rebounds. Junior Levi Bradley (Milwaukee, Wis./Pius XI) added 22 points and sophomore Justin Thomas (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) chipped in 17 points and four assists.

"It was an incredible game," said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. "An incredible crowd. You could feel the energy in the Convocation Center. It means something when you are on a losing streak and you get that kind of support, and we needed it, because Buffalo got us down, but we weren't out, we kept fighting.

"Our guys were resilient today. It can go one of two ways when you are down 13 with eight minutes to go, our guys decided to fight and we got it done on the defensive end. We made free throws, we shared the ball and Eugene German made a heck of a play in overtime to win it."

A basket by Jayvon Graves gave Buffalo a 72-59 lead, its largest of the game, with 8:19 left in regulation but NIU answered with an 18-1 run to take a four-point lead.

Sophomore Noah McCarty (Rock Falls, Ill./Sterling Newman) opened the run with a pair of free throws, Thomas and freshman Gairges Daow (Melbourne, Australia/Victory Rock Academy) each added a bucket before a Buffalo free throw made it 73-67 Bulls with 6:12 left.

Back-to-back baskets from Bradley then brought NIU within a pair before Thomas evened the game at 73 with 4:48 left.

Following the under-four minute media timeout, Buffalo missed a pair of free throws before German and McCarty each scored for the Huskies to give NIU a 77-73 lead with a little over three minutes left in regulation.

McCarty finished with seven points and five rebounds.

Buffalo (18-7, 10-2 MAC) pulled back within one but two free throws from Thomas and one from McCarty brought the lead back to four with 1:39 left. The Bulls answered with the next five however, taking an 81-80 lead with 40 seconds to go.

With 19 seconds left in regulation, Thomas stepped to the free-throw line and knocked in a pair, Buffalo went to the other end and split a pair to tie the game, 82-82, with 12 seconds to go.

Buffalo went just 11-of-26 (42.3 percent) from the free-throw line while NIU shot 82.8 percent (24-of-29) from the charity stripe.

NIU (11-14, 4-8 MAC) had the final possession of regulation but the Huskies came up empty and the game went to overtime.

In the extra session, NIU scored first through Bradley, but Buffalo answered with a triple to take an 85-84 lead. After another bucket from Bradley, the Bulls again knocked in a triple to lead 88-86 with just under two minutes to play.

On the next possession, German was fouled driving to the basket and calmly stepped to the line to drain a pair for the sixth tie of the afternoon with 1:36 left.

Two empty trips by the Bulls, and one by the Huskies, meant NIU had the basketball with 26 seconds to go.

Following a timeout, German held for one-shot and drove to the bucket, banking home a layup with four ticks left on the clock. Buffalo tried to race up the floor but their half-court heave came up short and NIU prevailed over Buffalo.

Nick Perkins led the Bulls with 22 points, Wes Clark added 21 and Jeremy Harris chipped in 15 points.

The Huskies will be back in action at the NIU Convocation Center on Tuesday night, Feb. 13, when they host Central Michigan at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now through the NIU Athletics Ticket Office in the Convocation Center, by calling 815-753-PACK (7225) or online at Reserved lower bowl seats are just $10 while general admission is available for $8.
Published: 2/11/2018 7:36:51 AM Custom Tag