NIU Homestand Continues Saturday vs. Toledo

GO HUSKIES Freshman guard Mike Davis
GO HUSKIES
Freshman guard Mike Davis
GO HUSKIES

Feb. 1, 2013

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Northern Illinois Huskies (5-14, 3-4 MAC) vs. Toledo Rockets (8-10, 4-3 MAC)
Date / Time: Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 / 3 p.m. CT
Site: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. • Huskie All-Access
Live Video: Huskie All-Access
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Toledo leads 39-23
Last Meeting: Feb. 29, 2012 • NIU 65-61

ONE FAN CAN WIN A CAR
Saturday will be the first of three NIU basketball games in which one lucky fan will have a chance to win a new car courtesy of DeKalb Sycamore Chevrolet Cadillac GMC. Fans can sign up for a drawing at the DeKalb Sycamore Chevrolet Cadillac GMC car display located on the track and one lucky fan will have a chance to compete in a halftime contest to win a new car.

WHAT'S TRENDING
• The Huskies defeated Kent State, 67-65, last time out, snapping an 11-game losing streak against the Golden Flashes.
Abdel Nader scored a career-high-tying 26 points and grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds against Kent State, recording his first career double-double. Nader hit a game-winning, 18-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds to play.
Daveon Balls set a new career-high with seven assists against the Golden Flashes. Balls is averaging 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.0 steals over the last three games.
• With the victory over Kent State, NIU has recorded multiple victories against the MAC East Division for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
• NIU is playing back-to-back home games for the first time since Nov. 24 and 27, when it hosted Loyola-Chicago and UIC.
Darrell Bowie is averaging 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game during conference play. Bowie is tied for fifth in scoring among conference freshmen in league play and ranks third in rebounding. Bowie entered league play averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
J.J. Cravatta is averaging 4.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game over the past five contests.  
Abdel Nader has scored in double figures in 9-of-12 games this season; Nader has scored in double figures in 26 games during his career, including six 20-plus games.
• 10 different players have started at least one game for the Huskies with Antone Christian becoming the 10th player to make a start, making his first start of the year at Miami (Jan. 9).
• Keith and Kevin Gray have both played in 50-straight contests; neither has missed a game in their collegiate career.

RESPONDING TO ADVERSITY
Northern Illinois has done an excellent job of responding following tough games all season long; consider the following four contests and the game immediately following:
• NIU lost at Dayton on Dec. 1, 60-43, scoring just five points in the first half. The Huskies responded from a difficult first half by outscoring Dayton in the second half, 38-34. NIU then went on to win its next game against SIU Edwardsville (Dec. 5), 65-54, shooting 52 percent from the field in the contest.
• Seattle defeated Northern Illinois, 75-48, on Dec. 19. The Huskies answered with a strong performance against Washington (Dec.22), trailing by six with less than two minutes to play before falling, 67-57.
• After a 71-34 home loss against Western Michigan (Jan. 19), NIU earned its first win at Central Michigan (Jan. 23) since 2006 with a 74-61 victory over the Chippewas. The Huskies shot 48.8 percent from the field in the contest, including 52.6 percent from 3-point range.
• NIU scored four first half points in a 42-25 loss at Eastern Michigan (Jan. 26). The Huskies answered that performance with a 67-65 win over Kent State (Jan. 30). Northern Illinois never trailed against the Golden Flashes, shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 53.8 percent behind the arc.

LIVING AT THE LINE
• Northern Illinois has attempted 172 free throws during conference play, an average of 24.6 per contest.
• In contrast, the Huskies shot 179 free throws in non-conference action, an average of 14.9 trips per game.
Darrell Bowie (33) leads NIU in free throw attempts in MAC contests.
J.J. Cravatta leads the Huskies in free throw shooting in conference play, connecting at a 78.6 percent clip.  

A TALE OF TWO HALVES
• The Huskies season thus far has been a tale of two halves with NIU finding greater success after halftime.
• The Huskies are averaging eight more points per game in the second half that the first half while shooting over seven percent better from the field, six percent better from three and seven percent better from the free-throw line.
• In the opening 20 minutes this season, NIU is averaging 24.1 points while shooting 32.5 percent from the field, 24.7 percent from three and 62.1 percent from the free-throw line.
• The Huskies have 77 first half assists and 157 first half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is NIU's leading scorer in the first half of games this season, each averaging 4.9 points.
• In the second half this year, NIU is averaging 32.1 points while shooting 40.1 percent from the field, 30.6 percent from three and 69.7 percent from the free-throw line.
• NIU has 94 second half assists and 132 second half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is also NIU's leading second half scorer at 9.3 points.

A LOOK AT THE 2012-13 SEASON
• Freshmen have played 57.2 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 25.5 percent of the minutes (a total of 82.9 percent by underclassmen).
• The team leading at halftime has won all 18 games played by NIU this season. The one exception was at Miami (Jan. 9) when the Huskies and RedHawks were tied at the half, NIU won that contest.
• Preseason All-MAC selection Abdel Nader played his first game of the season at UW Milwaukee (Dec. 7) after a season-opening suspension for violation of team rules.
• Northern Illinois is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 0.9 boards per contest.  
• Northern Illinois returns its top-five scoring letterwinners and top-six rebounders from a season ago.
• 10 of the 15 players making up the Huskie roster this season are underclassmen.
• Of the five upperclassmen on NIU's roster, one will sit out this season following a transfer (Pete Rakocevic) and another had never played a Division I game until this season (Brandon Hayes).
• NIU made its first appearance in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, playing Valparaiso at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The Huskies were one of two MAC schools, along with Kent State, that will appear in the marathon.
• The Huskies will play 10 teams that appeared in postseason play a season ago: Valpo (Horizon League regular season champs, NIT), Dayton (NIT), Milwaukee (CBI), Washington (Pac-12 regular season champs, NIT Final Four), UMass (NIT Final Four), Akron (MAC regular season champs, NIT), Bowling Green (CIT), Buffalo (CIT), Kent State (CIT) and Ohio (NCAA Sweet 16).

THE EXPERIENCE TRACKER
• Developed by StatSheet.com, "The Experience Tracker" looks at the experience per minute played by every team in the country.
• Each team's number is generated by taking the sum of minutes each player plays, multiplied by their class (1-freshmen, 2-sophomores, 3-juniors, 4-seniors) divided by the total of team minutes.
• Northern Illinois is currently the second-least experienced team in the country (1.61) behind Texas (1.43).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation's least experienced teams.

IN THE MAC RANKINGS
Travon Baker is seventh in the MAC, tops among freshmen, with 1.6 steals per game.
Abdel Nader is 13th in scoring in conference games at 13.6 points per contest and 13th in rebounding at 5.7 boards per game. Nader is also tied for sixth with 1.7 steals per game.
Darrell Bowie is tied for fifth in scoring among freshmen in league games (7.0 ppg) and ranks third in rebounding among conference rookies in league play (4.4 rpg).  
Daveon Balls is tied for 13th in the MAC in steals during conference play, averaging 1.4 per contest.
• NIU leads the MAC in offensive rebounds, grabbing 13.6 per contest. The Huskies are third in defensive rebounding percentage at 70.4 percent.

WHAT'S BACK FOR NIU
• With its six-man returning nucleus from a season ago, the Huskies return more than 60 percent of their production for 2011-12 in most statistical categories.
• The following are NIU's percentages returning from last season: minutes (60.7 percent), scoring (62.6), rebounds (63.1), assists (47.0), blocks (71.2) and steals (57.1).
• By comparison, here are the numbers that returned at the beginning of last season from the 2010-11 campaign: minutes (33.8 percent), scoring (32.0), rebounds (31.8), assists (26.6), blocks (39.7) and steals (27.4).

ABOUT TOLEDO
• Toledo comes to DeKalb having won two-straight, earning victories over Bowling Green and at Ball State. The Rockets are 8-10 on the season, 4-3 in conference play.
• Rian Pearson leads the MAC averaging 19.6 points per game. Julius Brown also scores in double figures for the Rockets, averaging 13.3 points per contest.
• The Rockets lead the MAC in free throw percentage, shooting 79.0 percent from the charity stripe.
• NIU and Toledo have had the same result against their five common opponents in conference play (wins of Kent State and Central Michigan as well as losses to Western Michigan, Ohio and Akron).

ALL-TIME SERIES
• Toledo leads the all-time series against Northern Illinois, 39-23. The home team won each of last season's two meetings.
• The Huskies have a 16-11 edge in the series in games played in DeKalb. NIU has won five-straight against the Rockets in DeKalb with the last Toledo victory coming on Feb. 22, 2007.
• Northern Illinois has won seven of the last nine overall in the series against Toledo.

KENT STATE RECAP
• Northern Illinois defeated Kent State, 67-65, to improve to 3-4 in conference play. The Huskies never trailed against the Golden Flashes.
Abdel Nader hit an 18-foot, pull-up jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining to win the game for the Huskies. Nader finished with a career-high-tying 26 points and a career-best 11 rebounds, his first career double-double.
• Eight different players recorded assists in the game, led by new career-high seven from Daveon Balls.
• The win over Kent State snapped an 11 game losing streak to the Golden Flashes. NIU's last victory over KSU came on Feb. 8, 2003, at Kent.
• The victory was NIU's first over Kent State at the NIU Convocation Center. The last Huskie home win in the series was on Jan. 3, 1998, when NIU called Chick Evans Fieldhouse home.
• NIU shot 46.8 percent (22-of-47) from the field and 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from behind the 3-point line.

EASTERN MICHIGAN RECAP
• NIU fell at Eastern Michigan, 42-25, to conclude its two-game Michigan swing 1-1.
• The 42 points allowed by NIU was its lowest since Dec. 13, 2005, when the Huskies allowed 42 in a 62-42 victory over Wright State.
• The last time NIU allowed less than 42 points was in an 86-38 victory over Blackburn College on Dec. 18, 1992, and the last time NIU allowed less than 42 against a Division I foe occurred in a 48-30 win at Akron on Jan. 26, 1991.
• Northern Illinois committed a season-low eight turnovers against the Eagles.
• The Huskies pulled down 23 offensive rebounds, a new high during the Mark Montgomery era.
Abdel Nader recorded three steals against the Eagles, tying a career-high. Nader has had three steals in a game seven times during his NIU career.

BREAKING A 32-YEAR HEX
• With its 72-61 victory at Miami on Jan. 9, Northern Illinois snapped a 13-game losing streak in Oxford, Ohio. NIU's last road victory against the RedHawks came on Feb. 21, 1981.
• The Huskies entered the game at Miami with a 1-19 record all-time in Oxford.
• The victory over Miami gave NIU a 1-0 start in conference play for the first time since 2009-10 when the Huskies won at Ball State in the league opener.
• Having broken the losing streak at Miami, NIU's longest conference road losing streak is now six, at Buffalo. The last Huskie victory in Buffalo came on Feb. 6, 2003.

ANOTHER STREAK BITES THE DUST
• After snapping a 13-game losing streak at Miami (Ohio) in the conference opener, NIU snapped another road losing streak at Central Michigan.
• NIU's victory in Mt. Pleasant on Jan. 23 was its first at Central Michigan since a 49-43 victory on Jan. 26, 2006.
• The win snapped a six-game losing streak on the road against the Chippewas.

A CONVO FIRST, AND FIRST SINCE 2003
• Northern Illinois broke another streak in conference play with its 67-65 victory over Kent State on Jan. 30. The Huskie win snapped an 11 game losing streak to Kent State.
Abdel Nader recorded his first career double-double with a career-high-tying 26 points and a career-best 11 rebounds against the Golden Flashes. Nader hit a pull-up, 18-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds left to win the game for NIU.
• The victory was NIU's first against Kent State since, Feb. 8, 2003, when NIU earned a 67-61 win at Kent State.
• The win marked the first time the Huskies have defeated the Golden Flashes in the NIU Convocation Center. NIU's last home win against Kent State was a 64-52 triumph on Jan. 3, 1998, at NIU's former home, Chick Evans Fieldhouse.


The Last Meeting
Toledo61
Northern Illinois65
February 29, 2012
DeKalb, Ill.
Huskies Ground Rockets Late for Senior Night Win
The Northern Illinois men's basketball team held Toledo scoreless for the final 4:27 of the contest, helping the Huskies earn a 65-61 comeback victory Wednesday night on Senior Night at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies finished the game on an 8-0 run to erase a four-point deficit and earn the victory.