DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois looks to get back on the winning track in the Mid-American Conference, as the Huskies welcome Ball State to the NIU Convocation Center on Tuesday (Jan. 22) for a 7 p.m. (CST) tip-off.
The Huskies dropped a 77-63 decision at the hands of Central Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 19) despite a team-best 22 points from freshman guard Darion Anderson. Anderson is second on the squad in scoring with 9.3 points-per-game, while junior guard Jarvis Nichols leads the Huskie pack with 10.1 points-per-game.
Ball State is coming off of a hard-fought 64-60 victory over Eastern Michigan last Saturday, behind a season-high 20 points from freshman forward Malik Perry. Sophomore forward Anthony Newell, who recently returned from a left foot injury, is averaging a team-best 17.7 points-per-game, while fifth-year senior guard Peyton Stovall is chipping in 14.8 points-per-game.
All-Time Series: Ball State holds a 40-29 lead over the Huskies in their all-time series.
The Last Time: Despite a late surge from Northern Illinois, Ball State held on for the 57-55 victory over the Huskies at the NIU Convocation Center on February 13, 2007. NIU sophomore guard Quintan Lipkins led the Huskies with 11 points.
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.
Fine Freshman: Huskie guard Darion Anderson is second among MAC freshmen in scoring (as of Jan. 20), as he is averaging 9.2 points-per-game. Bowling Green's Chris Knight tops the MAC with 12.1 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.
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 20), as the Huskies' sixth man is chipping in 10.1 points-per-game. Nichols has started less than one-third of the Huskies' contests with just one start out of 16 games.
Blazin' Bench: The NIU bench outscored the Huskie starters 41-22 in the 77-63 loss to Central Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 18), marking the seventh 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 30.8 points-per-game.
Paradise Lost: NIU senior guard Ryan Paradise announced on Friday, January 11 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.
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.
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; 22 points, Central Michigan, Jan. 19), 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.
Knockin' `Em Down: Prior to the beginning of the Mid-American Conference slate, Northern Illinois was shooting 64.8% (169-for-261) from the free throw line. Since then, NIU is shooting 75.4% (52-for-69) from the charity stripe in conference play.
Tight `D': Northern Illinois has tightened its defense since MAC play has begun, as the Huskies are holding conference opponents to a 40.7% shooting percentage. In non-conference play, opponents were shooting 47.6% against the Huskies.
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.
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.
Found Long Range: Junior guard Jarvis Nichols has been dialing it in from long range for the Huskies in MAC play, as the Carol Stream, Illinois native is knocking down 52.9% (9-for-17) of his three-point attempts.
Making His Presence Felt: Junior forward Sean Smith has become an offensive threat for the Huskies as of late, as the Gary, Indiana native is averaging 14.3 points-per-game in Mid-American Conference action.
My Name Is: Freshman guard Darion Anderson's nickname is `Jake', short for his middle name, Jakeon.
Up Next: NIU heads east to Ohio as the Huskies will face Bowling Green on Sunday, January 27 for a 1 p.m. (CST) tip-off.