Cheatham was 5 of 5 from the floor, and made four 3-pointers and four free throws. Antino Jackson and Isaiah Johnson added 13 points apiece for the Zips (16-4, 5-2 Mid-American Conference), who have won three straight.
Marshawn Wilson scored 15 points to lead Northern Illinois (16-4, 5-2). Aaric Armstead and Travon Baker each added 10 points.
Michael Orris's layup pulled the Huskies to a 56-all tie with 5:21 to play. Cheatham answered with a 3-pointer, sparking a 15-4 run and the Zips led 71-60 with 56 seconds left. Cheatham made two 3-pointers and Jackson scored five points, and the Huskies missed four shots and had a turnover during the stretch.