NIU senior center James Hughes posted his second double-double of the season with a 20-point, career-high 12 rebound and six block performance against the Eagles on Tuesday night, while junior point guard Ryan Paradise added 18 points in the 63-62 defeat.
Central Michigan (6-8, 1-1 MAC) is coming off of a 65-60 loss against Toledo on Tuesday night. CMU junior guard Giordan Watson chipped in 15 points and eight assists to lead the Chippewas, while teammates Justin Blevins (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Chris Kellerman (10 points) each posted double-figures against the Rockets.
THE COACHES -- Rob Judson is in his sixth season at the helm of the NIU men's basketball team, and has a career-record of 71-88 including last season's Mid-American Conference West Division championship. Central Michigan head coach Ernie Ziegeler is in his first year as the Chippewas' skipper and has totaled a mark of 6-8 in Mount Pleasant.
THE SERIES -- Northern Illinois holds a 47-34 advantage over the Chippewas in their all-time series.
THE LAST TIME -- Northern Illinois senior Todd Peterson led five Huskies in double-figures with 14 points as NIU earned the 80-70 victory over Central Michigan on February 22, 2006. Huskie seniors Anthony Maestranzi and Cory Sims each tallied 12 points, while junior center James Hughes and sophomore point guard Ryan Paradise posted 11 points apiece in the victory.
CALLING ALL ALUMNI -- NIU men's basketball is holding its annual `Alumni Game' on January 27 at 11 a.m. in the NIU Convocation Center. To participate or attend please RSVP to Northern Illinois SID Emeritus Mike Korcek at 815-753-9559 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
INJURY UPDATE -- Junior wing Ben Rand underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to remove scar tissue from his right knee on Thursday, January 4. This is the same knee that Rand had ACL reconstruction surgery on March 31, 2006. Freshman point guard Cody Yelder underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Dec. 28 to correct damaged meniscal cartilage that presented itself during the Lamar contest on Dec. 20. Huskie redshirt junior Jarvis Nichols joined Rand and Yelder on the injured list as he suffered a broken left foot in practice on Jan. 4.
GETTING OUT OF THE GATE -- NIU has struggled to get out of the gate during the past 11 games as the Huskies are averaging 26.4 points and 10.5 turnovers while shooting 39.7% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of each game. Conversely, the Huskies have responded in the second half, averaging 37.1 points and shooting 49.2% from the field in the final stanza of the past 11 contests.
SHOOTING STROKE -- Senior center James Hughes is currently the school-record holder for career field-goal percentage, as the Silvis, Ill., native has converted 57.8% (339-for-587) of his career field-goal attempts.
TIME CHANGE -- The tip-off time for NIU's contest against Ohio on February 10 in Athens, has been changed from 1 p.m. (CST) to 2 p.m. (CST) as it is a Mid-American Conference Television Game of the Week.
20/20 VISION -- For the second time this season, a NIU player has tallied 20+ points in a half, as senior center James Hughes scored 24 of his career and game-high 27 points in the Huskies 72-70 loss against Georgia Southern on December 8th. Junior guard / forward Zach Pancratz accomplished that feat earlier this year as he scored a career-high 22 points, including six treys, in the second half of NIU's 72-62 loss against Winthrop on December 2nd.
BLOCK PARTY -- Senior center James Hughes currently sits in second place in Huskie history with 173 career blocks. The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year needs 27 more swats for the school-record of 200, currently held by Allen Rayhorn (1978-82).
DOUBLE DUTY -- Northern Illinois has totaled four double-doubles this season including:
James Hughes (20 points, 12 rebounds) at Eastern Michigan on Jan. 9;
Mike McKinney (19 points, 13 rebounds) at Marist on Dec. 29; Shaun Logan (15 points, 11 rebounds) at Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 22;
James Hughes (22 points, 10 rebounds) against Duquesne on Nov. 25.
MAC TELECONFERENCE -- The MAC will hold a weekly teleconference for men's basketball coaches on Monday's during the basketball season. Each coach will be available for approximately seven minutes. The media session for NIU head coach Rob Judson begins at 9:16 a.m. (CST) every Monday. For information on how to join in on the teleconference, please contact NIU Assistant Media Relations Director Matt Brendich.
WELCOME BACK -- Since his return from a five-game absence due to an undetermined illness, junior point guard Ryan Paradise is averaging 13.8 points and is shooting 50.0% (13-for-26) from three-point range in five games. Paradise has knocked down at least one three-pointer in all five of those contests.
CHEERING FOR THE CHIPPEWAS -- In six career contests against Central Michigan, senior guard Mike McKinney is averaging 10 points and 5.2 rebounds-per-game against the Chippewas.
AT THE CHARITY STRIPE -- The Huskies have been quite efficient from the free throw line in the past three games as NIU has knocked down 80.3% (49-for-61) of their attempts from the charity stripe. Senior center James Hughes, a career 65.2% shooter from the free throw line, has converted his last 12 attempts. During this span, NIU has increased its free-throw shooting from 64.3% to 68.1%.
`Q' THE ANSWER? -- Sophomore point guard Quintan Lipkins has proven valuable off of the bench for NIU head coach Rob Judson in the last four games as the Houston, Texas native has averaged 6.5 points and 2.5 assists off of the bench while shooting 62.5% (5-for-8) from three-point range. He has knocked down at least one three-pointer in each of those games. Lipkins, who averaged 2.3 turnovers-per-game in his first nine appearances of the season, is also taking care of the ball better, averaging just 0.75 miscues-per-contest in the last four games.
SEEKING 900 -- With his next two points, senior guard Mike McKinney will reach the 900-point plateau for his career.
TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK -- NIU looks to snap a seven-game streak, dating back to the Troy game on Dec. 9, of having more turnovers than assists.
UP NEXT -- The Huskies return to the road and head to Muncie, Indiana for a 6 p.m. (CST) tip-off against Ball State on Tuesday, Jan. 16th.