Riverside, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Dontel Highsmith scored a game-high 27 points as the Northern Illinois Huskies posted a 71-64 win over the Highlanders of UC Riverside in non-conference action at SRC Arena.
Highsmith converted all but two of his 11 field goal attempts and was a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line for the Huskies (5-5) as they picked up their second straight win and the third in the last four outings. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Travon Baker and Aaron Armstead with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Highlanders (4-7) were paced by Nick Gruninger and Chris Harriel with 18 points apiece, followed by Chris Patton with 10 points off the bench as the squad bowed for the third time in four games. Taylor Johns accounted for a game-high 12 rebounds.
UCR led by three points very early in the meeting, but the team converted a total of just eight field goals in the first half, leaving the Highlanders with a 33-23 deficit at the break.
In the second half NIU's lead reached 14 less than two minutes into the period, and even with a mere 2-of-9 showing beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes of play the visitors were able to pull out the win.
Riverside produced a 38-29 rebounding advantage and limited the Huskies to only five boards at the offensive end of the floor, but NIU countered with a 27-18 scoring advantage at the free-throw line.
This was the first game in the state of California for the Huskies since 1997.