Upset of Toledo continues NIU’s MAC Tournament run
CLEVELAND — One of the biggest upsets in college basketball in the state of Illinois arguably came in DeKalb back in January.
That was when Northern Illinois used a last-second bucket from Trendon Hankerson to stun then-No. 14 Buffalo, 77-75.
Such a victory is one that can make a season, but Mark Montgomery’s team is making some new memories in this week’s Mid-American Conference tournament.
After a decisive 19-point win over Ohio at home in the first round, the Huskies knocked off No. 2 seed Toledo 80-76 Thursday night in Cleveland. The No. 7 seed Huskies now face No. 3 seed Bowling Green at 8 PM at Quicken Loans Arena in the tournament semifinal.
Eugene German led the Huskies with 27 points and Dante Thorpe put up 18. Levi Bradley’s hoop with 9:13 to go gave NIU the lead for good. After that, the Huskies built the lead up to eight points but then held off a late charge by the Rockets.
It was Thorpe’s last two free throws with just over four seconds to go that finally put the game away.
The victory continues a strong end of the season for the Huskies, who won their final two league games against Central Michigan and Ball State to finish 8-10. Should they beat the Falcons, they’d be one win away from their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1996.
Clearly NIU is making some new memories outside the regular season in 2019.