Last-second jumper downs men’s basketball


Northern Illinois sophomore Abdel Nader dribbles the ball during the game against Kent State on Wednesday night. The Flashes lost with a final score of 67-65. Photo courtesy of Amy Chow of the Northern Star.

Tim Dorst

The men’s basketball team battled hard for 40 minutes in another game that came down to the wire. After erasing an early deficit and tying the game with less than a minute left, the Flashes appeared to be on the verge of taking control and ending their three-game losing streak.

However, Abdel Nader and the Northern Illinois Huskies weren’t about to let that happen.

Nader nailed a mid-range jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining to help the Huskies squeak past the Flashes 67-65 Wednesday night in front of 719 at the Convocation Center in DeKalb, Ill.

The sophomore forward responded to a 3-pointer by Flashes sophomore guard Devareaux Manley with a pull-up jumper from around the free throw line to put the Huskies back in front.

Senior guard Randal Holt’s desperation shot from half court bounced off the rim as time expired, and the Huskies escaped with the upset victory.

Senior forward Brian Frank said this loss was particularly tough for the Flashes because it was a game they felt they should’ve won.

“We really needed this one,” Frank said.

The Flashes (11-10, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) had a few opportunities to take the lead throughout the night. Down by eight points with 2:08 to go, Manley hit a deep 3-pointer out of the left corner. Sophomore guard Kris Brewer quickly stole the ball from NIU’s Antone Christian, and Manley hit another corner 3 to cut the Huskies’ lead down to two.

“Dev was big for us down the stretch,” Frank said. “He pretty much kept us in the game. We kept getting him the ball late, and he just wouldn’t miss. He gave us a chance there at the end.”

Manley hit his third-straight 3-pointer to tie the game at 65 with 27 seconds left. The Huskies (5-14, 3-4 MAC) took a timeout to regroup and ran the ball over to Nader for the final shot.

Frank said Nader just played more physically than the Flashes did for much of the night and found a way to knock down the shots when he had to.

“He was able to get into the paint quite a bit and create a lot of contact,” Frank said. “He made a couple jumpers at the beginning to get them going and then of course made that last one.”

Junior forward Darren Goodson kept the Flashes in the game late in the first half, scoring eight-straight points for Kent State. Despite Goodson’s effort, the Flashes trailed 34-27 at halftime.

Kent State increased its defensive pressure early in the second half and managed to tie the game again at 34.

Evans’ seven-point performance and Holt’s 4-of-17 shooting night kept the Flashes from finding the kind of rhythm that they are used to.

“We had a rough night shooting the ball, but you have to find a way to fight through that and fight through adversity,” Frank said. “Tonight just wasn’t our night shooting-wise. We’ll be back in the gym tomorrow, and we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The Flashes, who have now lost four-straight games, will once again try to get back on track when they return home to face Eastern Michigan at 6 p.m. Saturday at the M.A.C Center.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].