Cent. Michigan 83, N. Illinois 71

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Giordan Watson scored 20 points and Robbie Harman added 16 to lead Central Michigan past Northern Illinois 83-71 in the opening round of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Wednesday.

Watson hit 5-of-7 3-pointers and Harman made 4-of-6 beyond the arc as the sixth-seeded Chippewas (14-16) hit 12-of-23 3-pointers overall and never trailed.

The Chippewas led by 10 points at halftime and built the lead to 22 before Northern Illinois rallied to cut the lead to 77-68 with 1:05 to play. But Central Michigan made 6-of-6 free throws in the final minute.

Darion Anderson, the conference's Freshman of the Year, led the 11th-seeded Huskies (6-22) with 22 points.

Marko Spica scored 13 points while Chris Kellerman and Jordan Bitzer added 11 apiece for the Chippewas. Sean Smith and Shaun Logan scored 12 points apiece for the Huskies.

The Chippewas shot 53 percent for the game, 27-of-51, to 42 percent, 25-of-60, for Northern Illinois.

Central Michigan will play third-seeded Akron on Thursday in the quarterfinals.