When this season is over, Northern Illinois will likely be remembered for one thing: putting up just 5 points in the first half against Dayton. So, reasonably, a team should expect their defense to be able to contain the Huskies. Because, this year, teams have.
Here is Northern Illinois field goal percentage against Division I teams this season heading into tonight’s game:
- at Nebraska-Omaha: 42%
- at Valparaiso: 29%
- vs Loyolla (Ill.): 30%
- vs Illinois-Chicago: 33%
- at Dayton: 37%
Tonight, the Huskies shot 52% against the Cougars earning their first Division I win of the year. It’s officially time to call out the SIU Edwardsville defense.
For the second straight game, the Cougars came out of the gates slowly, trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half en route to a 65-54 loss to Northern Illinois. To make things worse, SIUE turned the ball over 18 times.
“A lot of the problem was because we turned the basketball over,” SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. “We didn’t follow the game plan. It was a terrible first half.”
The slow start manifested itself on the defensive end, as SIUE allowed Northern Illinois to shoot 57% percent (15-26) during the first half.
“We gave up too many drives to the basket,” Forrester added. “That can’t happen.”
In the preseason, I raved on the Cougars offense, and for the most part it’s remained solid. Jerome Jones had a game high 19 points on 7-13 shooting, andKris Davis added 16, shooting 3-7 from behind the arc. But you’re not going to simply outscore many teams, you have to get stops.
The Cougars did force 17 turnovers on the night, kept the Huskies off the line, and didn’t allow many offensive rebounds, which are all great things. But that doesn’t matter when you allow a team that’s struggled on offense all year to hit 50% from the field.
SIUE will return to the road for a Saturday game at Western Illinois.