DeKALB – Sophomore junior college transfer David Coit had what NIU coach Rashon Burno called his best game as a Huskie on Tuesday, pouring in a game-high 24 points in an 83-78 loss to Albany.
Burno also said the 5-11 guard isn’t even playing half as well as he’s capable of. He expects bigger things out of Coit as the nonconference slate winds down and Mid-American Conference play starts Jan. 3 at Akron.
“He’s probably operated at probably 40%, and I say that with a level of humility and dead seriousness,” Burno said. “I know what type of player he is. It’s just a matter of understanding that (as) he’s coming from a school where he scored 30 points a game. Right now he’s around players who all need to feed off of him. So this is a process for him as well at the collegiate level where he’s scouted and opponents gear up and take you out of your game plan.”
Coit averaged 30.6 points per game at Atlantic Cape Community College last year and is now averaging 13 a game for the Huskies after his showing Tuesday.
Coit did score 31 for the Huskies (3-9) in a season-opening loss to Illinois-Springfield. But he agreed with Burno that Tuesday against the Great Danes (5-9) was his best performance. He didn’t miss a two-pointer and was 9 of 14 from the floor.
“I think it was there, I just didn’t understand how to get to certain spots,” Coit said. “I came from a situation where I was taking 20 shots a game, averaging 30. And I was efficient. But now, playing with a lot better players and against a lot better players, I think taking my time. [Keshawn Williams and Burno] have been the main ones helping me, teaching me to take my time, let the game come to me.”
The Great Danes led most of the game Tuesday, building a big first-half lead thanks to forcing 11 NIU turnovers, then capitalizing on second-chance points to keep the lead between six and 12 for a good chunk of the second half.
The Huskies finally tied the game up at 64 with 7:46 left on a dunk by Oluwasegun Durosinmi. But not even 10 seconds later Malik Edmead, one of five Great Danes in double figures with 12 points, drained a 3-pointer and Albany never trailed again.
“We have to do a better, better job,” Burno said. “And that’s on me, getting guys to understand the value of the ball. The ball is currency, turn it over and you lose shots on the basket. We’ve done that a lot in our losses versus our wins.
“They really kicked our tails in second-chance points,” he said. “Second-chance points, turnovers, that was really the catalyst for us taking the loss.”
A 3-point play by Williams, who scored 23 for the Huskies, cut the lead down to 78-76 with 1:04 left. But Jonathan Beagle hit a layup to again make it a two-possession game, and NIU never got the lead to less than four again.
“Throughout the season we’ve had trouble with teams that make us extend out of our offense,” Coit said. “We have struggled with pressure, and that’s the main thing when we turn the ball over, that or moving too fast. I think playing on two feet, taking our time in our offense, a lot of time we panic after 10 seconds. With 20 seconds left on the shot clock we make a decision we shouldn’t be making.”