RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Dontel Highsmith scored a career-high 27 points as Northern Illinois took an early lead and held on to defeat UC Riverside 71-64 on Sunday.
Highsmith, a freshman, was 9 of 11 from the field, including three 3-pointers. He also made all six of his free throws and did not have a turnover.
The Huskies (5-5) had fallen behind when UC Riverside's (4-7) Nick Gruninger opened the game with a five-point flurry. Gruninger wasn't heard from again until well after halftime and the cold-shooting Highlanders, 35.7 percent, trailed by 10 at halftime.
Gruninger scored 12 of his season-high 18 points in the second half. Chris Harriel also scored a season-high 18 and his 3-pointer brought the Highlanders to within 62-59 with 1:25 to play. Highsmith hit a 3 on the other end, and Northern Illinois made 17 of 18 free throws in the final 10 minutes.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.
Guard Naz Mitrou-Long, whose 2015-16 season ended in December due to hip problems, has been granted a hardship waiver for the coming season, Iowa State said.
As the Sooners look to life without superstar Buddy Hield and his sidekicks, it's clear their unseasoned players will need to grow up fast.