DEKALB, Ill. — Sophomore Abdel Nader’s go-ahead jumper with 2.2 seconds left lifted host Northern Illinois past Kent State 67-65 on Wednesday night at the NIU Convocation Center.
Nader scored a game-high 26 points, including four 3-pointers, and led the Huskies with 11 rebounds. He hit the game-winner over KSU defender Chris Evans from about 17 feet.
“We figured he’d have the ball and he made a tough shot,” said Flashes coach Rob Senderoff. “He’s a good player and he played very well.”
The Huskies (5-14, 3-4 MAC) led 63-54 with 2:28 remaining in the game, but the Golden Flashes used an 11-2 run capped off by sophomore Devareaux Manley’s 3-pointer to tie it at 65 with 31 seconds left. Manley hit three 3-pointers during the run.
“Those three shots were big shots to get us back in the game, but we didn’t play the way we needed to to win,” said Senderoff.
Kent State (11-10, 2-5) suffered its fourth consecutive loss. The first three — at home to MAC unbeatens Akron and Ohio, and at Bowling Green — were inexcusable. This one was not.
The Huskies were coming off a 42-25 loss at Eastern Michigan when they scored four points in the first half on 3 percent shooting (1-of-31), missing their final 29 shots from the floor. They wound up shooting 13 percent from the field and 1-of-33 from 3-point range.
“They were embarrassed in their most recent game,” said Senderoff, whose Flashes defeated NIU 90-56 last year in Kent. “When embarrassed, that’s how a team is supposed to respond.”
Evans picked up two quick fouls and the Flashes fell behind 11-1 out of the gate. Junior Darren Goodson kept his team in the game in the first half, as Kent State trailed 34-27 at the break.
The Flashes opened the second half with a 7-0 run to tie the game, but were never able to take the lead.
Goodson scored 18 points and pulled 10 rebounds for Kent State, while sophomore guard Kris Brewer had 14 points and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line. Evans, who entered the game second in the MAC in scoring (17.1 ppg), was held to seven points. Fellow senior Randal Holt shot 4-of-17 from the field and finished with nine points.