Huskies Outlast Miami in Oxford – NIU Athletics

OXFORD, Ohio – Zarique Nutter (Newark, N.J./Clarendon College) scored 22 points and David Coit (Columbus, N.J./Atlantic Cape CC) added 21 as the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team picked up its second consecutive victory with a 62-59 win against Miami at Millett Hall on Tuesday night (Feb. 6). 

The Huskies held the RedHawks to just 35.2 percent (19-of-54) shooting from the field while shooting just 36.1 percent (22-of-61), but the Huskies went 13-of-15 (86.7 percent) from the free-throw line, including two in the final seconds from Will Lovings-Watts (Jeffersonville, Ind./Putnam Science) to help clinch the win. 

NIU outrebounded Miami, 45-33, including 15-8 on the offensive end and had a 19-5 edge in second chance points. 

Miami (11-12, 5-6 MAC) knocked in three triples in the opening four minutes of the contest as the RedHawks led, 10-5, in the early going. Nutter scored the next five as the Huskies evened the contest at 10.

Tied at 15 after an old-fashioned three-point play from Nutter, Miami used a 12-3 run to take a 27-18 lead with just under eight minutes to play in the first half. 

NIU (8-14, 2-8 MAC) responded with a 10-2 burst to pull the Huskies within one. Coit and Xavier Amos (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) made triples during the run while Coit also had a layup and Lovings-Watts had a follow-up dunk to cut the Miami lead to 29-28 with 2:49 to play before the intermission. 

Amos finished with nine points along with a career-high 12 rebounds. 

Lovings-Watts had another dunk off a steal to give the Huskies a one-point lead before the RedHawks scored the last basket of the half, giving Miami a 31-30 lead at the break. 

Coit had 11 points for NIU in the opening 20 minutes, Nutter had 10 while Bryce Bultman scored eight points to pace the RedHawks. 

Miami scored first to start the second half before NIU netted the next five to take a 35-34 lead. 

The lead swung back-and-forth between the Huskies and RedHawks until NIU used a 9-2 run to take a 51-46 lead with 8:22 to play. Nutter converted an old-fashioned three-point play to start the run, Coit added a layup, Oluwasegun Durosinmi (Lagos, Nigeria/St. Bonaventure) made a pair of free throws and Lovings-Watts converted on the break after a Miami turnover as the Huskies went in front by five. 

Lovings-Watts finished with eight points and six rebounds for the Huskies. 

Miami ended the run with a free throw, but NIU answered with baskets from Amos and Coit as NIU took a 55-47 lead with just under six minutes to play. 

The RedHawks clawed back to within three, 59-56, before a free throw by Amos made it a four-point NIU lead with just over a minute left. 

Miami then converted 3-of-4 at the line to pull within one, 60-59, before sending Lovings-Watts to the line with five seconds remaining. The Huskie freshman calmed knocked down both free throws to give the Huskies a three-point lead, 62-59. 

After Miami called timeout to setup a play in the frontcourt with 1.8 seconds left, Lovings-Watts came up with a steal of the inbounds pass to help the Huskies preserve the victory. 

Reece Potter was the lone player in double figures for Miami with 10 points. 

NIU will step back out of conference play for the final time on Saturday, Feb. 10, when the Huskies travel to Mobile, Ala., to face South Alabama in the MAC/Sun Belt Challenge. 


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