One ... two ... three ... four points is all the men's basketball team from Northern Illinois could manage during a first half for the record books on Saturday. Breaking their own NCAA Division I record for ineptitude, the Huskies made just one field goal before halftime against Eastern Michigan.
The Huskies' lone bucket in the first half was actually the first score, staking them to a 2-0 lead just more than a minute into the game. It went down from hill from there.
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"Our guys played hard," Huskies coach Mark Montgomery said after the game, via The Associated Press. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't make a shot. We just needed someone to make a basket to get our team going, but I wouldn't say that we were taking bad shots. We had makeable, open shots, they just wouldn't go in, but our guys kept defending, kept playing hard."
A whopping 21 points in the second half was not enough to overcome the false start in the first half as NIU lost, 42-25. While the general reaction was one of shock, the EMU Twitter account seemed quite excited by the development.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, NIU set the D-I record for lowest field goal percentage in the shot clock era, shooting 8-61 from the field (13.1%).
In December, NIU set the previous record for first half futility, scoring just five points in the first half against Dayton. The record before that had been held by Cal, who managed just five points in the first half against Notre Dame in 2010, per Flyer News.
In all-time case of "glass half full" thinking, the account of the game at the NIU website trumpets the team's defensive effort.
"Northern Illinois posted its best defensive effort in seven seasons allowing just 42 points on Saturday afternoon, but it came in a losing effort as the Huskies fell to Eastern Michigan, 42-25, at the EMU Convocation Center."
Well played, Northern Illinois Athletics.
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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — Northern Illinois broke its own NCAA Division I record for futility, scoring just four points in the first half of a 42-25 loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
The Huskies (4-14, 2-4 Mid-American) also broke the record for lowest field goal percentage in a half of the shot clock era (3.2 percent) and lowest field goal percentage in a game (13.1 percent), and tied the mark for fewest made field goals in a half after hitting 1 of 31 attempts in the opening period. Abdel Bader scored on a fast break one minute into the game to put Northern Illinois up 2-0 for its only bucket of the half, and followed that with 29 straight misses.
"Our guys played hard," Huskies coach Mark Montgomery said. "Unfortunately, we just couldn't make a shot. We just needed someone to make a basket to get our team going, but I wouldn't say that we were taking bad shots. We had makeable, open shots, they just wouldn't go in, but our guys kept defending, kept playing hard."
Savannah State had held the record of 4.3 percent shooting in the first half against Kansas State on Jan. 7, 2008, a game in which it also made just one field goal in the half. Miami of Ohio held the previous record for lowest field goal percentage for a game in the modern era with 13.3 percent against Dayton on Dec. 29, 2001.
Northern Illinois, which features a lineup of mostly freshmen and sophomores, earlier this season set the record for fewest points in a first half with five against Dayton on Dec. 1.
Glenn Bryant led Eastern Michigan (10-10, 3-3) with 10 points. The Eagles led 18-4 at the half — the fewest combined points in a half since North Carolina Central (13) and Savannah State (5) combined for 18 in the first half a game on Jan. 20, 2010.
Daveon Balls hit a 3-pointer for the Huskies with 2:05 remaining to make the score 37-22, helping them avoid the record for fewest points in a game (20 by Saint Louis on Jan. 10, 2008 vs. George Washington) in the shot clock era. It was also Northern Illinois' only 3-pointer in 33 attempts, which kept them from breaking the record for most 3-pointers attempted (24) without a make.
"It becomes contagious, both making shots and missing shots," Montgomery said. "At 18-4, if we come out and make a couple of baskets we would have been right back in it ... but it just didn't happen."