NIU men snap 10-game losing streak with win over Eastern Michigan

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The NIU men’s basketball team knocked off Eastern Michigan 76-66 on Saturday at the NIU Convocation Center, the Huskies’ first win against an NCAA Division I opponent since beating DePaul on Nov. 25.

The Huskies had lost 10 straight overall and 13 games against D-I opponents before Xavier Amos scored 19 points on Saturday to lead the Huskies. Will Lovings-Watts added 18 and Zarique Nutter chipped in 11 to spark a second-half comeback for NIU (7-14 overall, 1-8 Mid-American Conference), which trailed by four at halftime.

“It was a competitive game from the start,” NIU head coach Rashon Burno said. “I thought our guys had focus coming out to start the second half, which has been our Achilles heel all season. To come out and play the way we played, undermanned, we lost Harvin (Ibarguen) at shootaround today, I thought the guys stepped up. Will Lovings-Watts made some huge plays, Xavier was Xavier-like, playing 32 minutes, 6 for 10, six rebounds, three blocks, just huge.

“Will Lovings-Watts really impacted this game with five steals. He made some great plays. He made a timely three, so I’m really happy for him.”

Eastern Michigan (9-13, 2-8) led by as much as six in the first half. The Eagles got a 12-point NIU lead down to four with 1:53 left but couldn’t get closer. The Huskies finished 30 for 35 from the free throw line.

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