Jan. 31, 2014
Game Notes in PDF
Northern Illinois Huskies (8-11, 2-5 MAC) at Ball State Cardinals (4-14, 1-6 MAC)
Date / Time: Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 / 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET)
Site: Worthen Arena • Muncie, Ind.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. • NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Video: mac-sports.com
Live Stats: BallStateSports.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Ball State leads 48-32
Last Meeting: March 9, 2013 • Ball State, 53-51
DID YOU KNOW?
• NIU is playing its eighth conference game, but just the second against the MAC West. The only MAC West foe the Huskies have faced thus far is Toledo (Jan. 22). NIU will play nine of its final 11 league games against the MAC West, with only a home game against Miami (Feb. 4) and a trip to Akron (Feb. 15) left against the MAC East.
• Aksel Bolin is leading the Mid-American Conference in three-point percentage during league play, connecting on 50 percent (11-of-22) of his triple tries. Bolin has scored in double figures in each of the last two games and is averaging 9.6 points per game in conference play.
• Travon Baker has scored in double figures in six consecutive games, and nine of the last 11. Baker is averaging 11.6 points per game in conference play.
• Baker is also averaging 2.3 steals per contest in league play, tied for third-best in the MAC.
• Darrell Bowie has scored in double figures nine times this season; he is also averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, 10th-best in the MAC.
• Aaron Armstead is shooting 82.6 percent from the free-throw line, seventh-best in the MAC.
• Jordan Threloff is shooting 81.8 percent from thre free-throw line during league play, 12th-best in the MAC. Threloff has scored in double figures in two of the last three games.
• NIU ranks 49th nationally in rebounding margin (+4.9) and 52nd in scoring defense (65.0 ppg).
• Aksel Bolin has appeared 102 games during his NIU career, including 86 consecutive contests and has not missed a game since Feb. 15, 2011 at Western Michigan. The NIU record for career games played in 117, by Anthony Maestranzi and Todd Peterson (2002-06).
• The Huskies have won four road games, the most for the program since winning six in 2005-06.
• NIU has played the most difficult conference schedule in the country, according to ESPN.com’s Daily RPI. The Huskies rank No. 1 nationally in Conference Strength of Schedule. Central Michigan is second in the MAC, 31st nationally.
• The Huskies have lost 34 man games due to injury this season, not including redshirts, and are currently dressing just eight scholarship players.
ABOUT BALL STATE
• The Cardinals are 4-14 overall, 1-6 in Mid-American Conference play, but have gone 4-4 at home this season.
• Four players are scoring in double figures for Ball State, with Zavier Turner leading the way at 12.2 points per contest. Chris Bond (11.5), Majok Majok (11.2) and Jesse Berry (10.0) are also in double figures. Majok is averaging nearly a double-double, as he also pulls down 9.8 rebounds per game.
• Ball State currently ranks third in the MAC in rebounding margin (+3.4), just behind NIU in second (+4.9). Toledo currently leads the MAC with a +5.6 rebounding margin.
• First-year Ball State head coach James Whitford spent the last four seasons on staff at Arizona, the final two as associate head coach.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
• Ball State holds a 48-32 advantage in the all-time series against NIU. Saturday’s contest will be the first of two meetings between the two schools.
• Ball State has won seven-straight games in the series, with the last NIU victory coming on Jan. 9, 2010, 62-48, in Muncie.
• The Cardinals have a 30-8 lead all-time in meetings in the Hoosier State. Overall in the series, Ball State has won 11 of the last 14.
HUSKIES BREAK STREAK WITH COMEBACK AT KENT STATE
• NIU trailed by 14 with 14 minutes to play, but rallied to defeat Kent State, 50-49, on Wednesday (Jan. 29) on the road.
• Trailing by one, Travon Baker connected on a pair of free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining to lift the Huskies to a one-point victory at Kent State (Jan. 29).
• Aksel Bolin scored a game-high 14 points; Travon Baker (11) and Jordan Threloff (10) also reached double figures.
• NIU shot a season-best 88.2 percent (15-of-17) from the free-throw line, the Huskies made their final 11 free throws in the contest.
• The Huskies forced 18 turnovers from Kent State, the most by a NIU opponent this season.
• The victory over Kent State was NIU’s first at the M.A.C. Center since 2003, just the second at Kent State since 1986, and only the sixth road win over the Golden Flashes in school history.
• The win continues a tradition of breaking losing streaks under Mark Montgomery. Last season, NIU won at Miami (Ohio) for the first time since 1981 and also won at Central Michigan for the first time since 2006.
FINDING A RHYTHM
• Travon Baker has scored in double figures in nine of the last 11 contests, and 10 times overall this season. Baker is averaging 11.1 points per game during that 11-game stretch, and 11.6 points per game in league play, tied for 26th in the MAC.
• Baker is shooting 75.8 percent from the free-throw line, 13th-best in the MAC. Baker has gotten to the free-throw line 39 times in seven league games; he attempted 27 free throws in 12 non-conference games.
• Baker has 16 steals in conference play, 2.3 per game, tied for third in the MAC. Baker has 28 steals overall on the season, 1.5 per contest, 11th-best in the conference.
• Trailing by one, Baker connected on a pair of free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining to lift the Huskies to a one-point victory at Kent State (Jan. 29).
• Baker scored 13 points, including six in the final two minutes, in a road win at Bowling Green (Jan. 12).
• Baker had five steals against Buffalo (Jan. 25), a career-high, and the most for a Huskie since Darion “Jake” Anderson recorded five on Feb. 24, 2010 against Central Michigan.