Huskies Look to Continue Winning Ways Wednesday at Toledo

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES

Jan. 17, 2012

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Northern Illinois Huskies (2-13, 1-2 MAC) at Toledo Rockets (8-9, 0-3 MAC)
Date: Wednesday January 18, 2012
Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT)
Location: Savage Arena • Toledo, Ohio
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM in DeKalb, WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet and WKRS 1220-AM in Waukegan
Live Stats: UTRockets.com

The Match-Up
After opening conference play against the three State of Michigan schools, Northern Illinois will visit the Buckeye State when the Huskies travel to Toledo on Wednesday, Jan. 18. NIU is coming off a 74-66 victory over Central Michigan this past Saturday (Jan. 14). Abdel Nader scored 22 points, including 5-of-5 from three-point range, to lead the Huskies past the Chippewas. Stian Berg made his first career start, scoring 12 points on 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.

About Toledo
The Rockets enter Wednesday’s contest with an 8-9 overall record, 0-3 in Mid-American Conference play. Toledo’s eight wins is already double what they recorded last season under second-year head coach Tod Kowalczyk. Toledo leads the MAC in scoring, averaging 74.1 points per game, the Rockets have four players averaging in double figures, led by Rian Pearson at 16.4 points per contest. Pearson is also the leading rebounder for the Rockets at 7.9 boards per contest.

Against the Rockets
Northern Illinois trails Toledo in the all-time series, 38-22, but the Huskies have won the last four meetings against the Rockets. NIU swept last season’s two meetings with a 10-point victory in DeKalb (64-54, Jan. 15, 2011) and a five-point overtime triumph at Toledo (75-70, Feb. 26, 2011). The Huskie win at Toledo last season came without leading scorer Xavier Silas; Tim Toler led NIU with 19 points in the contest. Toledo’s last win over NIU came on March 8, 2009, a 74-69 victory in Toledo. The Rockets lead the series, 24-7, in games played in Toledo.  

Red Hot from Deep
Northern Illinois stormed out of the locker room against Central Michigan (Jan. 14), making five of their first six shots from behind the three-point line. The Huskies finished the first half 10-of-14 from beyond the arc and ended the contest 12-of-19 from deep. Abdel Nader went 5-of-5 and Stian Berg was 4-of-4 from three in the contest. NIU’s 63.9 percent shooting against the Chippewas was the best three-point performance by any team in the MAC this season and was the first time NIU had shot over 50 percent from deep since Jan. 22, 2011 at Western Michigan (55.6 percent).

Nader Breaks Out
Abdel Nader scored the first 13 points for the Huskies in NIU’s 74-66 victory over Central Michigan (Jan. 14). Nader finished the contest 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-5 from three. Nader has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, averaging 12.7 points per game during that stretch.

A Start to Remember
Stian Berg made his first career start against Central Michigan (Jan. 14) and scored a career-best 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range. Berg has seen in role increase over the past four contests, averaging 18.5 minutes per contest after seeing just 5.8 minutes per game through the first 11 games.

Earning Their Points
In conference play, Northern Illinois has the lowest opponent floor percentage in the MAC at 42.8 percent. Floor percentage is a measurement of the percentage of possessions on which a team scores at least one point. Huskie opponents score on just 42.8 percent of their possessions during conference play.

Looking Ahead
The Huskies return home to the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday, Jan. 21, when they welcome Ball State to DeKalb. Game time against the Cardinals is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday is also NIU’s annual Alumni Day celebration with the Alumni Game taking place at 4:30 p.m.