YPSILANTI, Mich. - 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.”