Huskies Open League Play Wednesday at Miami

GO HUSKIES Redshirt junior guard Antone Christian
Redshirt junior guard Antone Christian

Jan. 8, 2013

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Northern Illinois Huskies (2-10, 0-0 MAC) at Miami RedHawks (5-7, 0-0 MAC)
Date / Time: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 / 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET)
Site: Millett Hall • Oxford, Ohio
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet, Ill. • Huskie All-Access
Live Video:
Live Stats:
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Miami leads 25-13
Last Meeting: Feb. 8, 2012 • NIU 62-59

Abdel Nader is averaging 15.0 points per game in five contests since returning from suspension. Nader is averaging 27.3 points per 40 minutes played, the same number as UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad and Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk.
Aksel Bolin is the only player for NIU to start all 12 games this season.
Akeem Springs is averaging 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting 45.7 percent from the field, in four appearances off the bench this season.
Darrell Bowie is scoring 7.5 points and pulling down 4.0 rebounds in two games as a starter. Bowie set career-highs in points, assists and steals, while tying a career-high for rebounds, last time out against UMass.
Daveon Balls has 10 assists and just four turnovers in the last five games.
• Nine different players have started at least one game for the Huskies with Darrell Bowie becoming the most recent to get his first start, at Washington (Dec. 22).
• In the last five games, NIU’s opponents have shot a combined 78.5 percent (102-of-130) from the free-throw line. Only four teams in the nation (Davidson, Lehigh, Iona and South Dakota) have a better percentage for the season.
• Huskie opponents have made more free throws (190) than NIU has attempted (179).

• Wednesday’s game at Miami will end a 10-day break for the Huskies who haven’t played since Dec. 29, at home against UMass.
• The game against UMass was NIU’s only game for a 17-day stretch between Dec. 22 and Wednesday night.
• The Huskies now have one break of more than three days the rest of the season, a week long stretch between Feb. 16 at Western Michigan and a Feb. 23 BracketBuster contest.

• Since rejoining the Mid-American Conference prior to the 1997-98 season, Northern Illinois is 5-10 in conference openers.
• Last season, NIU was edged, 47-40, by eventual MAC West Division champion Eastern Michigan in the league opener in DeKalb.
• NIU will open league play against a MAC East foe for the first time since 2005-06, when the Huskies also faced Miami. The RedHawks defeated NIU, 58-56, in DeKalb (Jan. 3, 2006).

• The non-conference slate has been a tale of two halves for the Huskies with NIU finding greater success after halftime.
• The Huskies are averaging seven more points per game in the second half that the first half while shooting six percent better from the field, nearly 10 percent better from three and 4.7 percent better from the free-throw line.
• In the opening 20 minutes this season, NIU is averaging 24.8 points while shooting 34.8 percent from the field, 22.5 percent from three and 63.0 percent from the free-throw line.
• The Huskies have 48 first half assists and 103 first half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is NIU’s leading scorer in the first half of games this season, averaging 4.6 points.
• In the second half this year, NIU is averaging 31.8 points while shooting 40.8 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from three and 67.7 percent from the free-throw line.
• NIU has 63 second half assists and 83 second half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is also NIU’s leading second half scorer at 10.4 points.

• The Mid-American Conference is one of the last leagues in the country to begin conference play.
• When the week began, just six conferences (Atlantic 10, Ivy, MAC, Mountain West, Patroit and SEC) had not yet played at least one conference game.
• Of those six leagues, the SEC is next to begin conference play as Missouri hosts Alabama on Tuesday (Jan. 10).
• The Atlantic 10, MAC and Mountain West will each open league play on Wednesday (Jan. 11) while the Ivy and Patriot Leagues will be last to host conference action when they begin league play on Saturday (Jan. 12).

• Freshmen have played 61.3 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 22.0 percent of the minutes.
• Preseason All-MAC selection Abdel Nader played his first game of the season at UW Milwaukee (Dec. 7) after a season-opening suspension for violation of team rules.
• Northern Illinois is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 1.8 boards per contest.  
• Northern Illinois returns its top-five scoring letterwinners and top-six rebounders from a season ago.
• 10 of the 15 players making up the Huskie roster this season are underclassmen.
• Of the five upperclassmen on NIU’s roster, one will sit out this season following a transfer (Pete Rakocevic) and another had never played a Division I game until this season (Brandon Hayes).
• NIU made its first appearance in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, playing Valparaiso at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The Huskies were one of two MAC schools, along with Kent State, that will appear in the marathon.
• The Huskies will play 10 teams that appeared in postseason play a season ago: Valpo (Horizon League regular season champs, NIT), Dayton (NIT), Milwaukee (CBI), Washington (Pac-12 regular season champs, NIT Final Four), UMass (NIT Final Four), Akron (MAC regular season champs, NIT), Bowling Green (CIT), Buffalo (CIT), Kent State (CIT) and Ohio (NCAA Sweet 16).

• Developed by, “The Experience Tracker” looks at the experience per minute played by every team in the country.
• Each team’s number is generated by taking the sum of minutes each player plays, multiplied by their class (1-freshmen, 2-sophomores, 3-juniors, 4-seniors) divided by the total of team minutes.
• Northern Illinois is currently the third-least experienced team in the country (1.57), behind only Arkansas-Little Rock (1.30) and Texas (1.41).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation’s least experienced teams.

Travon Baker is tied for second in the MAC with 2.0 steals per game.
• At 9.8 points per game, Akeem Springs ranks 29th in the MAC in scoring, third among freshmen.
Kevin Gray ranks 10th in the conference pulling down 2.1 offensive rebounds per contest.
Sam Mader is 13th in the MAC with 0.9 blocks per game.
• The Huskies lead the conference in offensive rebounding averaging 14.0 offensive boards per game.
• NIU is second in defensive rebounding percentage (70.0 percent) and third in steals per game (8.7).

• With its six-man returning nucleus from a season ago, the Huskies return more than 60 percent of their production for 2011-12 in most statistical categories.
• The following are NIU’s percentages returning from last season: minutes (60.7 percent), scoring (62.6), rebounds (63.1), assists (47.0), blocks (71.2) and steals (57.1).
• By comparison, here are the numbers that returned at the beginning of last season from the 2010-11 campaign: minutes (33.8 percent), scoring (32.0), rebounds (31.8), assists (26.6), blocks (39.7) and steals (27.4).

• Miami enters conference play with a 5-7 record. The RedHawks are 4-1 at home this season.
• The RedHawks were edged by UMass, 70-69, at home last time out on Jan. 2.
• Allen Roberts leads Miami in scoring at 12.8 points per game; Reggie Johnson is the only other RedHawk in double figures at 10.2 per contest.
• Miami ranks second in the MAC in 3-point percentage shooting 36.4 percent.
• John Cooper is in his first season as Miami head coach, replacing legendary Charlie Coles. Cooper spent the last three seasons as head coach at Tennessee State.

• Miami leads the all-time series against NIU, 25-13.
• The RedHawks hold a 19-1 lead all-time in games played in Oxford; NIU’s lone road victory was a 75-63 win on Feb. 21, 1981.  Miami has won 13-straight in Oxford against NIU.
• With last season’s 62-59 win, the Huskies snapped a seven-game losing streak to the RedHawks.
Tyler Storm had 17 points off the bench to lead NIU to the victory last season. Aksel Bolin added 12 points and Stian Berg chipped in 11.

• In its first home game since Dec. 5, NIU fell to UMass, 64-59.
• The Huskies trailed by 13 at the half, and by as much as 15, before pulling within two in the final minute of the contest.
• Northern Illinois shot a season-high 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the free-throw line.
• NIU’s 40 rebounds was one shy of a season best (41 at UW Milwaukee).
• The Huskies forced 19 UMass turnovers, one shy of a season-high by an opponent (20 at DePaul).
• NIU scored 11 second-chance points to just two by UMass. The Minutemen grabbed just four offensive rebounds.
Abdel Nader finished one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 15 points and a season-high nine rebounds.
Darrell Bowie set new career-highs for points (8), assists (3) and steals (3) against the Minutemen.
Kevin Gray had a career-best three assists against UMass.

• Northern Illinois did not win a game last season in which the Huskies allowed more than 69 points.
• The Huskies were 3-4 in games decided by five points or less last season.
• NIU did not play an overtime game last season. The Huskies went 41 games between overtime contests from Feb. 26, 2011 to Dec. 7, 2012.
• The Huskies shot a better field goal percentage than their opponents in four of their five victories last season. NIU also had a better 3-point shooting percentage than its opponents in all five victories a year ago.
• NIU outrebounded its opponents 18 times last season, including in four of its five wins.

• NIU was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason conference media poll. Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, followed by Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, NIU and Central Michigan.
• The MAC East was picked to finish as follows: Ohio, Akron, Kent State, Buffalo, Bowling Green and Miami. Ohio was also picked as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament.
Abdel Nader was one of five played named to the West Division Preseason All-MAC Team. Joining Nader are Ball State’s Jesse Berry, Toledo’s Rian Pearson and Julius Brown and Western Michigan’s Nate Hutcheson.



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