Huskies to Open Conference Play at Buffalo

GO HUSKIES Sophomore guard Travon Baker
GO HUSKIES
Sophomore guard Travon Baker
GO HUSKIES

Jan. 7, 2014

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Northern Illinois Huskies (6-6, 0-0 MAC) at Buffalo Bulls (6-4, 0-0 MAC)
Date / Time: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 / 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) -- UPDATED: game moved back two hours due to weather and travel delays
Site: Alumni Arena • Buffalo, N.Y.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet, Ill. • WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. • NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Video: BuffaloBulls.com
Live Stats: BuffaloBulls.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Buffalo leads 14-13
Last Meeting: Feb. 9, 2013 • Buffalo 59-54

WHAT’S TRENDING
• NIU opens Mid-American Conference play on the road for the second consecutive season. Last year the Huskies snapped a 13-game road losing streak at Miami in the league opener.
• For the first time since 2005-06, the MAC will play an 18-game conference schedule. Buffalo and Kent State are the two teams from the MAC East the Huskies will play twice.
• The Huskies have won their last four games against unranked opponents. NIU’s last loss against an unranked foe was a 63-58 setback at Nebraska on Nov. 30.
Aaric Armstead made his second career start last time out against Bethune-Cookman. Armstead scored a career-high 11 points and grabbed a career-best five rebounds against the Wildcats.
Aaron Armstead has scored in double figures in three of the last four games. Armstead is averaging 8.8 points per game in the last four, shooting 52.4 percent from the field during that stretch.
Travon Baker has also scored in double figures in three of the last four games. Baker scored in double figures three times all of last season.
• Senior Aksel Bolin is closing in on 100 career games played. Bolin has appeared in 95 games in his Huskie career, including 79 consecutive appearances.
• Leading scorer Dontel Highsmith will miss the remainder of the 2013-14 season after tearing his ACL at Iowa State (Dec. 31).
• The Huskies are shooting 74.5 percent (79-of-106) from the free-throw line in the last four games.
• Seven of NIU’s 12 games have been decided by seven points or less, with four of those games being decided by five points or less.

ABOUT BUFFALO
• Buffalo enters league play with a 6-4 record, 5-1 at home. The Bulls have not played since a 55-52 victory at Drexel on Dec. 29, a home game against South Dakota State on Jan. 3 was postponed due to weather.
• Two players are scoring in double figures for Buffalo, led by 17.7 points per contest from Javon McCrea, who is also averaging 9.6 rebounds per game. Joshua Freelove also scores in double figures at 12.5 points per contest.
• Bobby Hurley, a former All-American at Duke, is in his first season at head coach at Buffalo. Hurley is the NCAA’s all-time assists leader and spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for his brother Danny, at Wagner and Rhode Island.
• The Huskies and Bulls rank one-two in rebounding offense in the MAC. NIU is first at 39.6 rebounds per game and Buffalo is second at 38.7 rebounds per contest.

THE LAST MEETING
• Buffalo edged NIU, 59-54, on Feb. 9, at Alumni Arena in Buffalo. UB’s Javon McCrea led all scorers with 16 points.
• The Bulls led by 11, 52-41, with 4:27 to play before NIU went on a 13-5 run to pull within three, 57-54, with less than 20 seconds to play. NIU had a chance to tie but Abdel Nader missed a triple with nine seconds remaining.
• The Huskie bench outscored Buffalo’s 21-4 in the contest, but the Bulls had 13 second chance points to just two for NIU.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES
• Buffalo leads the all-time series, 14-13, and the Bulls hold a 10-5 advantage in games played in Buffalo.
• The Bulls have won seven-straight games in the series, with NIU’s last victory coming on Jan. 7, 2006, an 84-82 overtime win in DeKalb.
• The last time NIU won at Buffalo was on Feb. 6, 2003, a 70-61 victory. The Huskies have lost each of their last seven trips to Buffalo.

FOR OPENERS
• Since rejoining the Mid-American Conference prior to the 1997-98 season, Northern Illinois is 6-10 in conference openers.
• Last season, NIU opened league play with a 72-61 victory at Miami (Ohio). The victory was NIU’s first at Miami since 1981, snapping a 13-game losing streak in Oxford.
Aksel Bolin scored a team-high 11 points off the bench in the victory over the RedHawks, Darrell Bowie added 10 points in the win.