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May 24, 2010


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:59 am on Friday, May 21, 2010

In a see saw affair that came down to three free throws with no time  on the clock, Reach USA managed to edge out the Bayi Rockets, 78-77, to take a 3-2 lead in the series.  Both teams held leads of eight or more in the game but could not hold off their foe. 

The Reach team had a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter, only to see the score tied at the end of the second and third stanzas.  The U.S. team had an 11-point lead with six minutes to go, but failure to hit free throws in the last four minutes, going 3-8, allowed Bayi to take a three-point lead with less than 2:00 left.

After cutting the lead to one on a Malik Story bucket, following a stop, Reach missed a jumper but Josh Harrelson muscled away a steal and scored to put Reach up by one.  Again, a missed shot by the Chinese team put Reach in a position with under a minute to stretch the lead.  However, a missed shot set the stage for another tough ending for the visitors. 

But, a steal by Peyton Siva and a score put the game at 78-77.  The U.S. group tried to foul but waited too long and fouled on a three at the buzzer.  The Chinese player missed the first which assured a hard-fought win.

NIU's Xavier Silas scored seven points for the Americans, while Sean Kowal provided two points in the win.



By Brett McWethy | Posted at 4:17 pm on Saturday, May 22, 2010

2010 Day off Update; Courtesy of Rob Spear
We had a great off day yesterday and a good start to our day today as well.  We had a five-hour bus ride yesterday that was not too bad.  We had a chance to stop and take pictures at some amazing places.  We arrived in what was referred to as a small country town, which has 2,000 in population called Shizhou.  It is an older quiet town, but as usual, we have been so well received.  The hotel is an older Chinese hotel, without an elevator, so it is a slight change from the other ones, yet real nice.  We got a opportunity to walk around and found an old favorite of ours, Diko's.  This is an American style fast food place that is a chain in China.  They have fried chicken, chicken sandwiches, fries, ice cream, and home made donuts.  It was a nice snack for some.

We went to eat what is known as "Hot Pot."  It is a place where you cook your own food in boiling something, (i.e. water, oil, spices).  Then you drop everything into the spicy side or moderate side.  The spicy is HOT!   We ate cow intestines, eel, beef, potatoes, squid, crab, noodles, and some things I was not sure about.  The guys did great in trying some new items.  Though some were different they were pretty good.  We went to Diko's afterwards for ice cream.  I needed that to just get the taste back in my mouth from the heat.

This morning, we were going to a temple, but the roads up in the mountains were muddy from the rain so we just walked down by the park on the river.  We got to see some monuments and headed back to the hotel.  We are getting ready to go to a shoot around.
I would like to say how great we are being treated here in China. The host people are great.  The hotels and food have been the best we have had to date on all of our trips.  The Chinese people are, well what can I say, they are the most hospitable and friendly people you can imagine.  We have made a lot of new friends and are real excited about what is to come.   


Head men's tennis coach Patrick Fisher is a new daddy!

By Brett McWethy | Posted at 11:56 am on Friday, May 21, 2010

The Huskie family keeps growing!  Head men's tennis coach Patrick Fisher and his wife Tegan gave birth to their second child, a baby girl, Thursday night at about 9:30 p.m.  The couple hasn't selected a name yet, but the baby weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 inches long.  Congrats to the Fisher's, and welcome to the Huskie family!   


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:07 am on Friday, May 21, 2010

The Northern Illinois baseball team is still alive in the Mid-American Conference Tournament race after posting a 7-5 win over Western Michigan on Thursday.  The Huskies and Broncos will go head-to-head again today, but the game has been moved up to 2 p.m., due to the threat of inclement weather in DeKalb.  


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 9:59 am on Friday, May 21, 2010

Below is a blog entry by Rob Spears, co-founder of Reach USA, who Xavier Silas and Sean Kowal are playing for over the next week and a half in China.  The Americans posted a 76-67 win on Thursday, pulling even in the six-game series. 

Pengshui, China -  "And a great day was had by all" was a phrase that was common in my hometown paper.  I would use that one for today; it was a great day.  They guys got to sleep in until 10:30 a.m., and we only had a one-hour bus ride.  We are staying in a great hotel and the food was out of this world.  At the game, we played real hard and battled through some real adversity (see game recap) and came away with a 76-67 win over Bayi to tie the series at 2-2.  The place was a smaller arena, holding about 2,000.  But there were people all over the place and after the game, we had a great time taking pictures and signing autographs.

Game Recap #4
Reach USA 76, Bayi Rockets 67
In a repeat of last night, the Reach USA team jumped out to an early lead, by as many as 11 points in the first quarter and held a nine-point lead at halftime.  The third quarter took a big turn, as Bayi was 13-of-16 from the free throw line, and cut the lead to one.  But a stubborn Reach team would not be denied and held on for a 76-67 win.


By Zach Peters | Posted at 11:45 am on Thursday, May 20, 2010

In the final Mid-American Conference series of the regular season, the Huskies' hopes of qualifying for the conference tournament are on the line against Western Michigan, but NIU will also need some help from two other foes.  In order to make the postseason, the Huskies must sweep the three-game set against the Broncos, have Miami (Ohio) get swept at home versus Ohio (13-11), and have Buffalo lose one game at Bowling Green (15-9).  Miami (10-14) stands one game ahead of NIU in the eighth, and final, spot of the tournament and owns the tiebreaker over the Huskies after taking two of three in Oxford April 9-11, while Buffalo (9-15) is tied with NIU for ninth and owns the tiebreaker over the Huskies after winning the head-to-head series 2-1 in DeKalb April 2-4.

Come out to "The Ralph" to cheer the Huskies on!  The first game starts today at 3:05 p.m. CST, which is also the start time for tomorrow's Game TwoGame Three on "Senior Day" Saturday has a first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m.


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:32 am on Thursday, May 20, 2010

As reported on last week, Bobbie Cesarek, who has served more than 30 years in NIU Athletics, will be retiring, effective at the end of this month.  Today, her retirement and importance to the Huskie Athletics family will be celebrated, from 3-5:30 p.m., at the Convocation Center.  Thanks Bobbie, for your unmatched support and service to Northern Illinois!


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 10:07 am on Thursday, May 20, 2010


Get it? They're both Tony Bennett... too obvious? I thought maybe...

John Sahly of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle wrote this story on new NIU women's basketball coach Kathi Bennett's famous family ties. To read more from her bro Tony Bennett (head men's coach, Virginia) and from her pops Dick Bennett (retired head coach) check out or "What They're Saying About Kathi Bennett" page.

Also check out the Kathi Bennett hiring story on by Fred Mitchell.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:44 am on Thursday, May 20, 2010

Four members of the NIU men's soccer team are playing together for a United Soccer League - Premier Development League squad in Minnesota called the Rochester Thunder. Francis Otira, Alex Evert, Engebreth Faerden and Finn Jor are all spending the summer together on the team. This story from talks about the team they are playing for.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 9:38 am on Thursday, May 20, 2010

Senior NIU women's golfer Kim Hunley is simply the best. Hunley finished her NIU career at the MAC Championships with the lowest career scoring average in Huskie history. The Aurora Beacon News recounts a bit of her career in this story from today's paper.

--- Total, absolutely absurd sidebar - skip this paragraph if you are only interested in Kim Hunley/NIU Athletics. I was watching this video to link to this post and I have a question. Why is Tina Turner riding a horse?? It makes no sense at all. She's standing there singing and dancing like a normal music video, then out of nowhere a horse comes running in. I would've been scared out of my pants if some horse ran into my video shoot, but she gets on the horse and rides it! I decided to look up the lyrics, and the song is clearly not about a horse because she says "I'm here in your arms" and "hang on every word you say." I think it's strange that "Tina Turner riding a horse" came out as the best idea from the video production brainstorming session. Did they pull this idea out of a hat? Did Tina ask her three-year old niece for a video idea? My theory: someone lost a bet in Vegas and this ridiculous idea was on the line. Okay, back to NIU news ---


By Donna Turner | Posted at 5:56 pm on Wednesday, May 19, 2010


One of the first preseason football publications is set to hit the newsstands on June 8 and in advance of that, Phil Steele has released his preseason All-Mid-American Conference teams.  The Huskies are well-represented, although not as well-represented at the TOP as we think we deserve.  After all, Northern Illinois ranked No. 1 in the MAC in total defense a year ago and most of those players (10 STARTERS!) return.

Steele did put tailback Chad Spann on his preseason first team and lists quarterback Chandler Harnish and offensive tackle Trevor Olson on the second team along with linebacker Alex Kube.   Again, only one defensive player on the first TWO teams!?  Sorry, Mr. Steele, but we heartily disagree.

Finally, on the third team, Steele has defensive end Sean Progar and cornerbacks Chris Smith and Patrick George as well as receiver Landon Cox and return man Tommy Davis, listed at both kickoff and punt returner.  

No one goes as deep as Phil Steele's College Football Preview and his preseason All-MAC fourth team includes NIU players offensive guard Joe Pawlak, linebacker Pat Schiller, free safety Tracy Wilson and punter Josh Wilber.

Most surprising of all, though, is a name that appears on his honorable mention list - tailback Jasmin Hopkins.  Pretty impressive to make the "team" despite not having played a down yet for the Huskies!

As more preseason teams are released, we'll keep you informed on Huskie Happenings.  While we don't put a lot of stock in the preseason predictions and teams, it's certainly a fun way to start the summer. 


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 1:01 pm on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It is becoming evident how evenly matched Reach USA and Bayi are becoming.  The Chinese team edged the Americans, 84-80, in the third meeting between the squads.  Below is a blog entry from Rob Spears, and we've included some photos, as well.  

Following a long five-hour bus ride, we arrived in Qianjiang.  We had a chance to have a shoot around as normal, and the arena is nice.  We have been having packed houses each night and tonight was no exception, somewhere around 4,000 people.  The thing about a trip like this is that you play in cities where there are no pro teams, so when something like this comes around it is a big deal. Tonight may have been the biggest shindig that we have had so far. They had an hour of pregame with dancing, singing, and martial arts. It was a great show.  The game was another tough one; we lost 84-80. We just could not hit anything all night and the Bahyi team went 10-for-13 in the fourth quarter.  But a lot of good things are happening, and I will be looking forward to sharing them later.

Game 3 Recap
Reach USA came out fast and built a 10-0 lead, but could not sustain the start, as the Bayi Rockets edged the visitors, 84-80, before a packed house.  The USA team held a six-point lead at the end of the first but saw that dwindle to one at half. Bayi turned the tables and grabbed a one point lead after three quarters.  But the first eight minutes was all the Chinese bunch, as they built up a 13-point lead.  They were 10-for-13 from the field in the quarter and seemed to have things in hand, when finally, Reach began to hit a few shots and cut the lead to four with 25 seconds left.  But that would be as close as they would get.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 11:15 am on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The 2010 Spring Coaches Caravans will be at the Champps in Lombard today from 5-7 p.m. Today's Caravan is in addition to tomorrow's stop at Aldeen Golf Club in Rockford (6-8 p.m.). NIU head football coach Jerry Kill, head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton and men's golf head coach Tom Porten will address fans at both stops this week. The Coaches Caravans are a great opportunity to meet and get to know NIU's head coaches.The events are free and open to the public. You can click here for more information on all the stops in 2010.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:56 am on Wednesday, May 19, 2010



By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:56 am on Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Daily Chronicle's John Sahly was at yesterday's Kathi Bennett presser and filed this story on NIU's ninth head women's basketball coach. He spoke with several Huskie players who were very excited about their new leader.  


By Joe Summins | Posted at 4:28 pm on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Former Huskie Eddie Davis, who enjoyed a 15-year career in the Canadian Football League, announced his retirement from the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Feb. 25. caught up with the former defensive back to find out what retirement has been like for Davis in this story.  


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 3:42 am on Tuesday, May 18, 2010


With today's announcement of Kathi Bennett to lead the NIU women's basketball program, the Bennett Era has officially begun at Northern Illinois. Congratulations to Kathi and to Huskie Nation, who now have a national champion, a national coach of the year, and a multi-time NCAA Tournament participant at the helm.


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:55 am on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Xavier Silas was one-of-four Reach USA players that scored in double figures, but Bayi exacted revenge on the Americans this morning, posting a 77-76 win in Tongnan, China.  Below are Silas' and Sean Kowal's statistical lines, followed by a blog entry by Rob Spear, the co-founder of Reach USA.

Xavier Silas: 12 points (6-10 FG-FGA), 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 5 personal fouls

Sean Kowal: 2 points (1-2 FG-FGA), 4 rebounds

A banked in three pointer with 2 seconds on the clock, but well after the shot clock had expired, dealt Reach USA a heartbreaking loss, 77-76.  Poor clock management in the last 1:30 allowed the Rockets to have an opportunity to win. 

Two free throws by Skylar McBee with 1:30 remaining put the U.S. team up by four.  Some ill-advised shots gave Bayi an opportunity to hit two free throws with 35 seconds left. A quick miss on the offensive end allowed the home squad the chance to pull it out and complete the comeback.

In the first half, Reach USA squandered several opportunities to put themselves well ahead, by making 17 turnovers, compared to just 13 last night.  They had a four-point lead at half and led late in the third quarter by as many as 13 points.

Long bus ride today, but tomorrow will be longer.  It will be 4-5 hours, which is the longest one we have, thank goodness.  We had a  great team time today with massages and group time.  The guys are really meshing well. However, the day did not end quite the way we would have liked.


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:22 am on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

For the second time in six days and the third time this season, the Northern Illinois baseball team and non-conference foe Milwaukee will be facing off, today at 3:30 p.m., at Ralph McKinzie Field.  The Huskies defeated the Panthers 5-3 last Wednesday at Miller Park, and outlasted Milwaukee in the home opener, 7-5, on March 24.  After the new women's hoops coach is introduced, make your way out to the baseball fields!


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 10:13 am on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Jeff Compher and University President John Peters will introduce Northern Illinois' ninth head women's basketball coach in a press conference today, beginning at 2 p.m. at Convocation Center.  Stay tuned to later this afternoon for all of the details, and CLICK HERE to watch the press conference live.  


By Megan Wallace | Posted at 3:54 pm on Monday, May 17, 2010

The track and field team concluded its 2010 season at the Mid-American Conference Championships this past weekend. Sophomore Megan Gregory qualified for NCAA Preliminary Rounds in the 100-meter hurdles, when she took hom second place in the event. The Huskies also set two school records and earned six top-eight performances at the championships. Catch up with all of the Huskies' performance in this recap.


Reach USA celebrates its 87-75 win over Bayi, the first game of the trip.  Silas is pictured fifth from the right.


Sean Kowal helps carry the American flag after Reach USA's 87-75 win. 

By Brett McWethy | Posted at 11:36 am on Monday, May 17, 2010

Results from Reach USA's first game, against Bayi, are in.  The Americans posted an 87-75 win, with Xavier Silas (9) and Sean Kowal (6) combining for 15 points.  Tennessee's Skylar McBee led the way with 15 points for Reach USA, who will face Bayi six more times in six different cities.  We'll keep you posted!  A blog entry from Robby Spear, and Silas/Kowal's lines are included below.

Xavier Silas: 4-10 (0-4 3-point range), 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals

Sean Kowal: 3-6, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist

11:00 a.m. - We have arrived in Congquing from an early morning flight from Beijing.   The team rolled out at 5:15 a.m., to get to the airport for our 7:20 am flight.  We don't have a great deal of flying on this trip which is always a blessing.  You are only allowed 42 lbs per person regardless of number of pieces of luggage that you check.  It makes for an overage on the first flight since we have so many giveaways for the other teams and people. 

Had some great friends great us at the airport. Weiming, Mr. Yang's assistant and Sarge, in charge of the bus and travel, were friendly faces meeting us as we flew in.  Mr. Yang is the guy that sets all of our stuff up.  He has been in the government and part of the basketball federation but now also has a sports marketing company.  He is always great to work with. 

We are now on the bus, a very nice one at that, heading for Changshou.  Supposed to be an hour ride but you never really know until you get there.  The guys have really been great.  They have jumped in and helped with luggage and really made it a point to try to talk with the locals.

4:30 p.m. - Finished our team time, led by Max Appel.  We are excited about learning new things about ourselves.  We had a good shoot-around. The arena is really nice and the floor is super.  That in itself is amazing in that we often have slick floors, which I am expecting more times than not.  Guys are resting a bit as we are getting ready for pregame meal.  There seems to be pretty good chemistry.

Game one is in the books with a Reach USA win, 87-75.  A real tough game physically, but one that seemed to be in hand for most of the game.  It was a close game early when Skylar McBee, now know as "Skylar McThree", hit two threes to put the USA team up by seven, and managed to get it up to 15 in the first half. The Bahyi Rockets fought back and cut the led to seven at the half.  The Chinese team got within five, but again, behind the hot shooting of McBee, 16 was the biggest second half margin.


By Joe Summins | Posted at 10:00 am on Monday, May 17, 2010

Congratulations go out to former Huskie center Eddie Adamski who made it through Vikings mini-camp and earned a spot on Minnesota's roster. Now, the photo above may be a bit crude, but it gives you an idea what he looks like in the purple and gold.


By Brett McWethy | Posted at 5:52 pm on Saturday, May 15, 2010

Xavier Silas and Sean Kowal, Northern Illinois' two members of the touring team "Reach USA," have touched down in China with their teammates.  Below is a blog entry by Robby Spear, the co-founder of the organization.  Stay tuned to for all the details of the two-week trip.

We are getting ready to head out to see the Great Wall of China.  The Red Team, the group that is getting ready to head back home on Monday, had a great time of a final day of shopping and heading over to one of the universities for an afternoon of pickup basketball. They amazed the crowds with a little dunking and playing but more important was just a great time of getting to know more students.

The Blue team, which is just beginning the trip, has all arrived.  Coming in three different waves, the final arrival was late on Saturday night.  Coach Gates had his plane delayed from Reno and missed the connection so had to be rerouted but finally made it in.  The other guys have already hit the ground and are enjoying the area.  After having the first big Chinese dinner, they experienced the shampoo!  45 minutes of shampooing hair and massage of head, back, face, and arms for a big price of under $3.  Several asked if they would be able to do this again.  Yep, they are adjusting well.


By Russell Houghtaling | Posted at 10:30 am on Monday, May 10, 2010

Have a Huskie Happening we missed? Let us know by e-mailing us here! We only have so many sets of eyes, but the Huskie Nation sees all!



Event Calendar
Women's Track
Friday, Jul 1 vs Jamaican Olympic Trials


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