CMU Shuts Down NIU in 58-45 Road Win

DEKALB, Ill. - Marcus Van's career effort highlighted a superb defensive performance by the Central Michigan men's basketball team in a 58-45 victory over Northern Illinois at the Convocation Center on Saturday.

Senior Marcus Van scored 14 points and was an absolute force on the boards, grabbing a career-high 20 rebounds. He also blocked four shots. It was his fourth career double-double and third this season.

"Marcus was a monster on the glass today," head coach Ernie Zeigler said. "He was a force defensively and did a great job fighting for the ball."

The contest was tight throughout the first half, the lead changed hands three times and neither team went ahead by more than six points. CMU held a 24-21 lead at the break.

Central extended the lead to nine points with 11:28 remaining before putting the game away with a 13-1 spurt over the next 7:12 to go ahead 53-32.

The 45 points Northern scored were the fewest Central has allowed all year and the Chippewa defense held the Huskies to 34.8 percent shooting. CMU also completely neutralized NIU's leading scorer, Darion Anderson, to only one point on 0-of-6 shooting. Anderson came into the contest averaging over 17 points per game

"The players deserve all the credit for our performance today," Zeigler said. "We talked about changing our struggles on the defensive end, everyone focused well on that end of the floor."

Van was one of three Chippewas to score in double figures. After his 14, Jeremy Allen and Jacolby Hardiman tallied 10 points apiece. NIU's Mike DiNunno led all scorers with 25 points.

The Chippewas shot a blistering 68.8 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes and finished the game with a .512 mark CMU owned a decisive 39-26 advantage in rebounding. Central hit only 13-of-22 free throws (59.1 percent), but Northern struggled immensely with a 30.4 percent mark (7-of-23) at the charity stripe.

The win improves Central to 5-12 on the season and 2-3 in Mid-American Conference play.

Central Michigan returns to action on Wednesday, Jan. 24 when it hosts the Ohio Bobcats. Tipoff at Rose Arena is at 7 p.m.

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