The UT men’s basketball team secured a conference victory to take sole possession of the MAC West against the Northern Illinois Huskies.
The win came on the heels of a dominant defensive performance showcased by the Rockets.
Action started early for the visiting Rockets who came out of the gates with a 14-4 lead.
Throughout the first half, both teams were slow offensively. Marreon Jackson and Chris Darrington got the Rocket offense going and the play of Luke Knapke aided as well.
After the Rockets held a 29-17 lead at the half, it seemed as though they had the game in hand, especially since the Huskies shot 24 percent from the floor during the first half.
However, a second half push by the Huskies arrived and the Rockets struggled to corral it initially. The Huskies cut the Rocket lead to five minutes into the second half. The game inched even closer when the Huskies cut the Rocket lead to one, 47-46. However, after a coach Kowalczyk timeout, the team summoned the energy to finish off the game. Nate Navigato hit a three pointer in route to an 18-2 scoring run by the Rockets that led to a 69-55 victory.
The victory puts the Rockets at 18-4 and 6-3 in the MAC. They were led in scoring by Jackson who had 16 and Knapke with 14. The Rockets were able to dominate in the rebounding department, a constant theme throughout this year.
"To get wins at Miami and Northern Illinois this week was really big,” coach Kowalczyk remarked after the win. “We played great defensively in the first half and then we responded when they made a run at us in the second half.”
The Rockets’ next game is against the Bowling Green Falcons at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9 in Bowling Green, Ohio.