Huskies Return Home to Host Bethune-Cookman

GO HUSKIES Junior guard Aaron Armstead
GO HUSKIES
Junior guard Aaron Armstead
GO HUSKIES

Jan. 2, 2014

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Northern Illinois Huskies (5-6, 0-0 MAC) vs. Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (2-14, 0-2 MEAC)
Date / Time: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 / 7 p.m.
Site: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. • NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Video: NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: First Meeting
Last Meeting: none

WHAT’S TRENDING
• NIU is playing its first home game in nearly a month; the last time the Huskies played at home was on Dec. 5 against Dartmouth.
• Friday’s contest is NIU’s final game before opening Mid-American Conference play at Buffalo next Wednesday (Jan. 3).
Dontel Highsmith has scored in double figures in four-straight games, averaging 16.5 points per game during that stretch.
Travon Baker has reached double figures in three consecutive contests, averaging 13.0 points per game in the last three. Baker also ranks 13th in the MAC in assists per game and has a 1.87 assist/turnover ratio.
Aaron Armstead has shot 50 percent from the field in the last three contests, he has four double-figure scoring games this season, including two of the last three games.
Darrell Bowie ranks ninth in the MAC in rebounding at 7.0 boards per contest. Bowie grabbed a career-best 13 last time out at Iowa State (Dec. 31).
• Seven of NIU’s 11 games have been decided by seven points or less, with four of those games being decided by five points or less.

ABOUT BETHUNE-COOKMAN
• Bethune-Cookman comes to DeKalb with a 2-14 overall record, 0-2 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play. The Wildcats have played 12 road games already this season.
• Bethune-Cookman is finishing a stretch of 12 games away from home on Friday night, 11 road games with one neutral site game against Prairie View A&M. The Wildcats last home game was on Nov. 21 against Florida International.
• The Wildcats have two players scoring in double figures, led by 11.3 points per game from Mikel Trapp. Malik Jackson also scores in double figures for Bethune-Cookman at 10.8 points per contest.
• Bethune-Cookman has played one Mid-American Conference school already this season, falling at Akron, 84-56, on Dec. 14.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES
• This will be the first meeting between Northern Illinois and Bethune-Cookman.

THE HUSKIES RETURN HOME
• NIU is back at the Convocation Center in DeKalb for the first time in nearly a month after playing its last four games on the road. NIU’s last home game was a 64-57 victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 5.
• The month of December saw the Huskies travel from coast-to-coast, playing at UMass on Dec. 14 and UC Riverside on Dec. 22.
• Following Friday’s game against Bethune-Cookman, NIU will once again head out on the road, opening conference play at Buffalo (Jan. 8) and Bowling Green (Jan. 12).

HIGHSMITH’S HOT STREAK
• Freshman guard Dontel Highsmith has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, including 19 points last time out at Iowa State (Dec. 31). Highsmith is averaging 10.5 points per game, tied for 29th overall in the MAC and third-most among conference freshmen, and 3.5 rebounds per game, fifth-most among MAC rookies.
• Highsmith currently ranks 10th in the MAC in field goal percentage, shooting 53.9 percent.
• Highsmith scored a career-best 27 points at UC Riverside (Dec. 22), going 9-of-11 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
• Highsmith’s 27 points were the most by a Huskie since Xavier Silas scored 34 on Feb. 12, 2011 against Kent State, and were the most by a NIU freshman since Mike DiNunno had 27 on Nov. 18, 2008 against Indiana State.
• Highsmith was named MAC West Division Player of the Week on Dec. 23, after averaging 18.5 points and 3.0 rebounds while helping the Huskies to a pair of wins at Loyola-Chicago (Dec. 18) and UC Riverside (Dec. 22).
• Highsmith scored 10 points with three rebounds; an assist and a steal against Loyola, helping NIU erase a 15-point second half deficit. Highsmith scored seven of his 10 in the second half, going 3-of-3 from the field after the intermission.  
• Highsmith is the first Huskie to earn MAC Player of the Week honors since Abdel Nader earned the accolade on Feb. 4, 2013.
• The two road victories gave NIU its first back-to-back wins since Feb. 26, 2011 (at Toledo, 75-70 in overtime) and March 2, 2011 (Eastern Michigan, 66-49), and its first back-to-back road wins since Jan. 6, 2010 (at Chicago State, 99-93) and Jan. 9, 2010 (at Ball State, 62-48).