DEKALB, Ill. (AP) Maxie Esho scored 14 points as Massachusetts held off Northern Illinois 64-59 Saturday for its fifth straight victory.
Chaz Williams added 12 points for the Minutemen (8-3), Freddie Riley had 11 and Terrell Vinson 10.
Abdel Nader led Northern Illinois (2-10) with 15 points and nine rebounds. Aksel Bolin added 11 points and Akeem Springs had 10.
Massachusetts broke open a close game by outscoring the Huskies 12-2 over the final 5:17 of the first half to take a 36-23 lead.
The lead remained in double figures for most of the second half until Northern Illinois went on a 12-4 run to pull within 55-52 with 4:03 remaining. The Huskies got within two, 61-59, when Nader hit a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left, but the Minutemen hit 3 of 4 free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the normalities of a baseball season will continue on. That means players and managers getting heated, arguments with umpires and benches clearing. But because of the risk the virus poses, MLB has asked for those moments to remain socially distant.
The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics did not follow that rule on Sunday.
After Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch, he appeared to be exchanging words with a Houston bench coach. With no fans, the words can be heard loud and clear by everybody. That led to both benches clearing and not even six inches of separation between players.
It's understandable for players to get angry and caught up in the moment, but this move by both teams is rather unacceptable given the current climate of the country and the sport. Though players are being tested constantly, this close contact between teams is unnecessary and only creates a larger risk for all involved.
The non-socially distant brawl comes at a bad time for baseball, as the league is dealing with numerous coronavirus-related issues. The St. Louis Cardinals have had at least 15 games postponed due to an outbreak within the organization, and that comes just after the Miami Marlins dealt with the same problem as well. Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was reportedly sent home on Sunday after breaking protocol and going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night.
Despite tightening up regulations for players, MLB still faces daily challenges while trying to operate a season during a global pandemic. Moments like the brawl between the Athletics and Astros don't help.
Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE ORIOLES NEWS:
The likelihood that college football is played this fall is looking bleaker by the day.
The commissioners of Power 5 conferences reportedly had an emergency conference call on Sunday evening to discuss the 2020 season, and the large majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the season due to concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
Earlier this week, the Big Ten halted on moving forward with padded practices until more protocols are in place.
Moments later, reports surfaced that the Big Ten is leaning towards moving forward without a fall football season, and a formal decision could be made as soon as early this week, according to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger.
The cancelation or postponement of the 2020 college football season seems to be inevitable, multiple sources have told ESPN.
The news doesn't come as a surprise considering the current state of the pandemic in the United States. However, the Big Ten just announced a new, conference-only schedule earlier this week, so the timing is a bit odd.
The Mid-American Conference postponed football and all fall sports on Saturday. If the Big Ten becomes the first Power 5 conference to postpone football, and fall sports as a whole, it will be interesting to see how quickly (if at all) the other major conferences (SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12) follow suit.
Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE NCAA NEWS: