The win makes the best 18-game start for Northern Illinois (15-3, 4-1 Mid-American) since the 1990-91 season and, coupled with Ball State's loss Tuesday to Kent State, lifts the Huskies to sole possession of first place in the MAC's West Division.
Levi Bradley added 14 points for Northern Illinois and Marin Maric 12. The Huskies made 30 field goals and shot 48 percent to overcome 10 3-pointers by the Chippewas.
Chris Fowler led Central Michigan (9-9, 2-3) with 16 points and eight assists, Rayshawn Simmons added 14 points, Josh Kozinski 12 on four 3-pointers, and the Chippewas welcomed the return of Braylon Rayson, who added 11 points. Rayson, averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game, missed Saturday's game to attend a family funeral.