-Prior to tip there is already some bad news for CMU as the Chippewas will be without freshman point guard William Eddie III tonight and for the foreseeable future. Eddie is dealing with a knee injury and his return to the team is unknown.
-Ernie Zeigler is 6-0 against NIU in his coaching career and tonight has a good shot to be 7-0. NIU is coming of an impressive win over Akron on Sunday, but CMU holds a 58-45 win over the Huskies this year already. Guard play will be the key in this one with Eddie out as Jordan Bitzer and Adrian Hunter will have to handle point guard duties at times.
-15:57 remaining in the first half and Darion Anderson, NIU's leading scorer, just picked up his second foul on a charge call from Antonio Weary. This is big for CMU. The Huskies are a young team without a lot of depth. So far NIU leads 9-4 and is shooting well. I am surprised to see them letting CMU run the clock on offense since this approach didn't work well for them in the previous meeting.
-11:18 left in the first CMU leads 14-13 thanks to a 10-0 run spurred on by three NIU turnovers. Sean Smith has come off the bench to give NIU two key buckets and stop the Chippewa run. Lawrence Bridges just picked up his second foul. On a side note, NIU coach Ricardo Patton sure can whistle!
- 7:57 left in the first half and CMU is up 19-14. Robbie Harman picked up his second foul which is big with Eddie already out of the game. Hunter has picked up point guard duties but struggled to make accurate passes. NIU is already in the bonus at the halfway point, which could pose problems as the game progresses. Marcus Van is struggling on the offensive end thus far, making just one field goal, which was a dunk, on four attempts.
- Jordan Bitzer picked up his second foul at the 3:32 mark, leaving he and Harman with two fouls each. Hunter is the lone guard that can run the point without two fouls. CMU leads 23-22.
- CMU leads 27-24 at halftime. Good start thus far given the slow opening minutes and the foul trouble. Van is not having his best day and I expect him to step up in the second half. Give Hunter credit, he has five points off the bench and Antonio Weary is 4-for-4 at the free throw line, which is key.
- 14:25 to go in the game, CMU up 33-31. The Chippewas can't shake NIU as each time CMU looks set to get something going, the Huskies answer. Weary has taken three charges in this game and Jeremy Allen has showed some positives on offense but just had a costly turnover.
- 11:56 to play, CMU up 37-33. Bitzer picked up his fourth foul with 12:42 remaining. Weary just had a big block and is having a solid game for CMU.
-7:28 to play, CMU up 42-34. Bridges picked up two fouls within a minute to give him four, but CMU has its largest lead of the game after a big jam by Van. This is shaping up to be a win as NIU is struggling on offense with some poor shot selection.
-63-44 final for CMU. Solid performances from Hunter and Weary and Van still had a strong game despite struggling in the first half. I will have post game thoughts later tonight.
Final Thoughts: This was a great overall win for CMU and they beat a team convincingly, which was good to see. Adrian Hunter and Antonio Weary stepped up and hopefully CMU can count on more production from both of them. Don't look now but CMU is just one game out of first place in the MAC West with Ball State looming on Wednesday.