DeKalb avenges loss, knocks off Sycamore

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DeKalb was easily defeated the first time it played Sycamore, but the Barbs learned a lesson.

The fruits of that lesson were applied  before a large crowd at the Northern Illinois Convocation Center between the neighboring communities as DeKalb came away with a 59-51 victory in a battle of Northern Illinois Big 12 East rivals. 

“We got beat inside pretty good by them last time that we played,’’ DeKalb coach Dave Riohlman said. “Give Dre Brown a lot of credit defensively against Devin Mottet inside.’’

Sycamore (14-4, 4-1) took the opening game 55-39 as Mottet scored 20. Brown used his body to wear down Mottet, holding him to nine points as Sycamore struggled inside the paint. The crowd was a factor too as the Barbs (9-13, 2-3) never trailed in the game.

“(Mottet) is a great player and I respect him,’’ Brown said. “But I’m a football player and I wasn’t afraid to use my body against him even if I got fouls. I only used four of them.’’

The biggest turnaround from the first game was the amount of scoring DeKalb was able to get against a tough Sycamore defense. Jace Kitchen came off the bench to provide 20 points to lead both teams in scoring. He connected on a pair of treys in the first quarter as the Barbs went 5-for-6 from beyond to grab a 24-14 lead. Kitchen finished the game by connecting on all three of his three-point attempts. 

“This was my best game of the year and it came in such a big game,’’ Kitchen said. “I was really happy that I had a good all-around game with defense and rebounding too.’’

The Spartans pulled to within 39-36 midway through the third quarter when Ethan Conroy and Kitchen hit threes that opened the game back up to a 48-36 lead.

Ben Nieman led Sycamore with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Kitchen was the only Barbs player in double digits as he shot 85 percent from the field and was 5-for-6 from the line.

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