Northern Illinois sank half of its shots on Wednesday night to defeat Ohio at home, 80-69. The Green & White converted only three of its 17 shot attempts in the final 10 minutes of play to drop their first Mid-American Conference game of the season.
“The biggest factor in the game was our inability to guard off the bounce without fouling,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said after the game on the Ohio IMG Sports Network. “At best, we are a good defensive team. At worst, we are a bad defensive team.”
Northern Illinois shot a total of 37 free throws in the game, making good on 26. The Huskies also made 10 of their 21 three-point attempts.
Marin Maric led the NIU with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Travon Baker led all scorers with 25 points and recorded four assists. Aaric Armstead added 14 points and nine rebounds. Laytwan Porter finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
“We had too many problems to address defensively,” Phillips said. “That’s a problem.”
The Huskies out-rebounded the Bobcats, 41-27. Ohio turned the ball over just four times in the loss, but its 36 percent shooting led to their demise.
Jaaron Simmons spearheaded the Ohio attack with 19 points and four assists. Treg Setty and Kenny Kaminsky both tallied 15 points in defeat.
Newly-former Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan traveled to Dekalb to watch Phillips, a Ryan protege, and his son, Will, a second-year assistant on the Ohio staff.
The Bobcats will return to Athens to host the Ball State Cardinals (10-4, 1-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. Ball State defeated Toledo in convincing fashion, 87-69, on Wednesday in its MAC opener.