DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois looks to grab its first road victory of the season on Saturday evening, as the Huskies travel to Mount Pleasant, Michigan to face Mid-American Conference West Division rival, Central Michigan, for a 5:30 p.m. (CST) tip-off at Rose Arena.
The Huskies are coming off of a heartbreaking 65-61 defeat at the hands of Eastern Michigan on Wednesday (Jan. 16) night. NIU junior guard Jarvis Nichols leads the Huskie offense in scoring with 10.4 points-per-game, while junior forward Sean Smith is averaging 16.5 points-per-game in MAC action.
Central Michigan dropped a 72-61 decision at the hands of Toledo on Wednesday night, despite a game-high 23 points from senior guard Giordan Watson. Watson is averaging a team-best 15.3 points-per-game, followed by junior transfer Nate Minnoy (10.7 ppg.).
All-Time Series: Northern Illinois holds a 47-36 lead over the Chippewas in their all-time series.
The Last Time: Despite a game-high 23 points from senior guard Mike McKinney, Northern Illinois was unable to overcome 19 turnovers as Central Michigan earned the 71-64 victory over the Huskies on February 25, 2007 at Rose Arena. CMU junior guard Giordan Watson topped the Chippewas with 20 points, while teammates Sefton Barrett and Jordan Bitzer chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively.
Defensive Clamps: NIU's first six opponents of the season, each shot 50.0% or better against the Huskies. Since then, the Huskies have held six of their last nine opponents to under 40.0% shooting from the field.
Like Father, Like Son: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton is one of 13 coaches across America, whose son is playing for his squad. Michael Patton is a freshman point guard for the Huskies, who is averaging 6.5 points-per-game.
Streakin': NIU senior forward Shaun Logan has knocked down at least one trey in the last 11 games. During that span, Logan is shooting 45.7% (16-for-35) from beyond the arc.
Fine Freshman: Huskie guard Darion Anderson is second among MAC freshmen in scoring (as of Jan. 18), as he is averaging 8.4 points-per-game. Bowling Green's Chris Knight tops the MAC with 12.4 points-per-game.
Are You Experienced?: Of NIU's 11 active players, the Huskies have seven student-athletes who are in their first season of Division I basketball.
Old Friends: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson and Central Michigan junior forward Nate Minnoy were teammates as freshmen at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, Illinois.
Calling All Alumni: NIU will hold its 8th Annual Alumni Day on February 2, prior to the Huskies' 2 p.m. showdown against Ohio. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the Alumni game held at 11 a.m. at the NIU Convocation Center. For more information, contact NIU Director of Marketing Cindy Green at (815) 753-0369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixth Man: NIU junior guard Jarvis Nichols leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring off the bench (as of January 18), as the Huskies' sixth man is chipping in 10.4 points-per-game. Nichols has started less than one-third of the Huskies' contests with just one start out of 15 games.
Blazin' Bench: The NIU bench outscored the Huskie starters 62-16 in the 78-62 win over Toledo on Sunday (Jan. 13), marking the sixth time this season, the most in NIU Division I history, that the reserves have accomplished that feat. As a team, NIU's bench is averaging 30.1 points-per-game.
Paradise Lost: NIU senior guard Ryan Paradise announced on Friday, January 11th that he would hang up his No. 10 jersey due to the pain from the numerous injuries that he has sustained throughout his tenure as a Huskie.
Rand Out: Senior swingman Ben Rand is out indefinitely with plantar facsciitis in his left foot.
Freshman `20': With his 20 point performance against Western Michigan on January 5, guard Michael Patton became NIU's second freshman this season, joining Darion Anderson (23 points, Indiana State, Nov. 20), to reach the 20-point plateau. The last time NIU had two freshmen each score at least 20 points in a game during a season was during the 1973-74 campaign, when both Carroll Holmes and Ricky Hicks each accomplished that feat.
Recruiting Class: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has inked four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, including guards Mike Dinunno (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben), Bryan Hall (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), Dominique Johnson (Detroit, Mich./Southwest Tennessee C.C.) and forward Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo) to play for the Huskies in 2008.
Time Change: Tip-off for Northern Illinois' contest against Akron on February 12 has been changed from 6 p.m. (CST) to 7 p.m. (CST) as the game is now a part of the Mid-American Conference television schedule.
Ervin's Magic: Sophomore forward Najul Ervin is shooting 88.9% (8-for-9) since a 4-for-4 performance against Green Bay on December 22.
Lost Long Range: Senior Zach Pancratz is sitting out the 2007-08 season after undergoing left shoulder surgery to correct continued instability in his non-shooting arm. Last season, Pancratz led NIU with 51 trifectas.
Productive Player: Senior forward Michael Hart is averaging 5.5 points and 11.9 minutes of action-per-game for the Huskies, which translates to a team-best 0.464 points-per-minute.
Up Next: The Huskies return home on Tuesday, January 22, as they welcome Ball State to the NIU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. (CST) tip-off.