Preview: Men's basketball looks to rebound against Northern Illinois

Senior guard Larry Austin makes gets ready to throw a pass on Jan. 12 in McGuirk Arena.

The last time out was a heartbreaking, overtime loss at home for Central Michigan men's basketball. 

It was a game against Bowling Green that they trailed for the majority of, then took the lead late in regulation. Later, the Chippewas would see it slip away in overtime Jan. 12 in McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas (13-3, 2-1 Mid-American Conference) hit the road to the Convocation Center in Dekalb, Ill. at 8 p.m. on Jan. 15 to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies (10-6, 3-0 MAC). 

NIU defeated Akron at home with a strong second half to secure a 73-56 at home Jan. 12. That upped the Huskies' winning streak to three games and they are one of three undefeated teams in conference play (Buffalo, Bowling Green). 

Though the Chippewas suffered a setback their last time out, coach Keno Davis is optimistic about his team and where it can go this season.

"It is different this year with a collection of grad transfers and junior college transfers," Davis said, crediting his assistant coaches and players. "You can't just throw in five or six new guys and expect them to work well together. It just shows how hard the individual players and coaches have worked with putting this group together."  

The Huskies have won their last eight games at home, their lone home loss was their season opening matchup against Northern Kentucky on Nov. 9. 

Ball security will be a top concern for the Chippewas. In the dying minutes of Saturday's loss to Bowling Green, the Chippewas turned the ball over to give the Falcons an opportunity to make their comeback. With it, NIU tied the game with 7.5 seconds to play in regulation.

“I think that final minute comes down to us two,” said Shawn Roundtree Jr. speaking about himself and Larry Austin Jr. “It comes down to execution and taking care of the ball. In those situations, we just have to be better.”

Last season, CMU swept the home-and-home series against the Huskies with a 81-67 win in McGuirk Arena and a 80-72 road win. A win for the Chippewas would put them on top of the MAC West standings. 

Scouting Northern Illinois

Junior guard Eugene German leads the MAC in scoring with 21.2 points per game. Seniors Levi Bradley and Dante Thorpe score 15.3 and 12.7 points per game, respectively. 

German, Bradley and Thorpe are the heart of the Husky offense and the Chippewas will need to stop those three to put themselves in position to secure the road victory.