Darius Beane missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer as the NIU men’s basketball team lost at Ohio, 76-73, in the debut of interim coach Lamar Chapman.
The Huskies trailed the Mid-American Conference game by as many as 15 points in the second half and posted a season high in scoring in the team’s first game since Mark Montgomery was fired.
“There are no moral victories in this thing, but considering what we went through the last 48 hours, I like the effort,” Chapman said.
Zool Kueth and Anthony Crump both put up career highs: Kueth scored 22 on 8-of-13 shooting and was 6 for 9 on 3-pointers, while Crump had 13 points and a team-best nine rebounds.
The Huskies’ previous scoring high this season was 70 in an overtime loss to Ball State. Their high in regulation was 64 in a win against Chicago State team that since has suspended its season.
The Huskies (1-8, 0-4 MAC) lost, 68-42, Saturday to Bowling Green. Chapman said it was just a matter of shots finally starting to drop for the team, which shot 46% from the floor and 48% on 3-pointers. He said he liked what he’s seen out of the team in practice the past two days.
“They’ve been making shots,” Chapman said. “Now they do that some other times, too, and it doesn’t always carry over to games. But today it did.”
The Bobcats (6-4, 2-2) led, 42-31, at halftime.
“I liked the effort. I like the togetherness we showed, the unity. I liked our approach,” Chapman said. “I didn’t like the 42 points [for Ohio] at halftime. But I thought we battled, and we kept competing.”
Four Huskies played at least 30 minutes: Kueth, Beane, Crump and Trendon Hankerson. Nathan Scott started but played only four minutes for the Huskies. Chapman said he was using a different rotation, trying to shorten things up.
“I was going back and forth, and I gave Nate the shot, a nod,” Chapman said. “I wasn’t really sold on him, but I gave him the nod because he’s a veteran player. ... In this business, you can’t make everybody happy, can’t play everybody. Zool had it going, and it’s tough to not play him. So I started him the second half, and I think [Lee] had a little more oomph than Nate at the time. I probably shouldn’t have started him because I wasn’t pleased with how he’s been approaching the last day and a half.”
Chapman said he wasn’t as nervous as he expected he would be in his collegiate head coaching debut.
“I thought my stomach would be in knots, something like that, but it wasn’t,” Chapman said. “I slept good last night. I went for a run across campus this morning like I always do. I was relaxed.”
Beane scored 16 and Hankerson 12 for the Huskies, who play Saturday at Miami. Miami suspended activities Dec. 23 and hasn’t played since, including postponing a game Tuesday against Bowling Green.