Huskies Close Homestand Wednesday Versus Bowling Green

GO HUSKIES Abdel Nader was named MAC West Player of the Week this week
GO HUSKIES
Abdel Nader was named MAC West Player of the Week this week
GO HUSKIES

Feb. 5, 2013

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Northern Illinois Huskies (5-15, 3-5 MAC) vs. Bowling Green Falcons (8-13, 3-5 MAC)
Date / Time: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 / 7 p.m. CT
Site: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet, 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: Bowling Green leads 29-25
Last Meeting: Feb. 4, 2012 • BGSU 65-40

WHAT’S TRENDING
• On Monday (Feb. 4), Abdel Nader was named MAC West Division Player of the Week. Nader averaged 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds last week against Kent State and Toledo.
• In two games last week, the Huskies shot 46.7 percent (14-of-30) from behind the 3-point line.
J.J. Cravatta is averaging 5.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over the past six contests, playing an average of 16 minutes per game.
Daveon Balls is averaging 5.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists over the last four games.
• With its victory over Kent State, NIU has recorded multiple wins against the MAC East Division for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
• NIU is playing the final game of its three-game homestand. This homestand marks the first time the Huskies have played consecutive home games since Nov. 24 and 27, when it hosted Loyola-Chicago and UIC.
Darrell Bowie is averaging 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game during conference play. Bowie ranks sixth in scoring among conference freshmen in league play and ranks fourth in rebounding. Bowie entered league play averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Abdel Nader has scored in double figures in 10-of-13 games this season; Nader has scored in double figures in 27 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 51-straight contests; neither has missed a game in their collegiate career.

NADER NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Sophomore Abdel Nader was named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week on Feb. 4, following his performances against Kent State and Toledo.
• Nader averaged 22.5 points and 11.0 rebounds for the week, recording double-doubles in both contests, the first two double-doubles of his career.
• Nader tied a career-high with 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Kent State. Nader hit a game-winning, 18-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds left to lift the Huskies to a two-point win over the Golden Flashes.
• The sophomore then scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Toledo.
• Nader finished the week shooting 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from behind the 3-point arc.

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 198 free throws during conference play, an average of 24.8 per contest.
• In contrast, the Huskies shot 179 free throws in non-conference action, an average of 14.9 trips per game.
Darrell Bowie (38) leads NIU in free throw attempts in MAC contests.
Aksel Bolin leads the Huskies in free throw shooting in conference play, connecting at a 76.9 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, seven percent better from three and six percent better from the free-throw line.
• In the opening 20 minutes this season, NIU is averaging 24.1 points while shooting 32.8 percent from the field, 24.8 percent from three and 62.7 percent from the free-throw line.
• The Huskies have 78 first half assists and 167 first half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is NIU’s leading scorer in the first half of games this season, each averaging 5.1 points.
• In the second half this year, NIU is averaging 32.5 points while shooting 40 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from three and 68.9 percent from the free-throw line.
• NIU has 99 second half assists and 136 second half turnovers.
Abdel Nader is also NIU’s leading second half scorer at 9.5 points.

A LOOK AT THE 2012-13 SEASON
• Freshmen have played 56.7 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 26.0 percent of the minutes (a total of 82.7 percent by underclassmen).
• The team leading at halftime has won all 19 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 0.8 boards per contest.  
• Northern Illinois returns its top-five scoring letterwinners and top-six rebounders from a season ago.
• Nine of the 14 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 third-least experienced team in the country (1.62) behind Texas (1.43) and Dartmouth (1.61).
• 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 1.5 steals per game.
Abdel Nader is 13th in scoring in conference games at 14.3 points per contest and tied for eighth in rebounding at 6.4 boards per game. Nader is also seventh with 1.8 steals per game.
Darrell Bowie is sixth in scoring among freshmen in league games (6.4 ppg) and ranks fourth in rebounding among conference rookies in league play (4.1 rpg).  
Daveon Balls is tied for 13th in the MAC in steals during conference play, averaging 1.4 per contest.
Aksel Bolin ranks ninth in the MAC in 3-point shooting during league play, connecting at 44.4 percent.
• NIU leads the MAC in offensive rebounds, grabbing 13.4 per contest. The Huskies are third in defensive rebounding percentage at 70.8 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 BOWLING GREEN
• The Falcons come to DeKalb with an overall record of 8-13, 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference.
• Bowling Green is still looking for its first road win of the season; the Falcons are 0-8 thus far on the road.
• Jordan Crawford and A’uston Calhoun lead the Falcons in scoring, Crawford averages 16.0 points per game while Calhoun is scoring 15.5 points per contest.

ALL-TIME SERIES
• Bowling Green leads the all-time series against Northern Illinois, 29-25.
• The Falcons have won six-straight in the series, including a 65-40 victory last season in Bowling Green (Feb. 4, 2012).
• NIU’s last victory in the series came on Feb. 7, 2007, a 73-51 win. The Huskies have lost the last two at home to the Falcons.
• Northern Illinois holds a 13-8 overall edge in the series in games played in DeKalb.

TOLEDO RECAP
• Despite having a three-point lead with three minutes to play, Northern Illinois fell at home to Toledo, 69-64.
Aksel Bolin scored a career-high 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting, 2-of-2 from three and 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.
Abdel Nader recorded his second consecutive double-double with 19 points and a career-high-tying 11 rebounds.
J.J. Cravatta tied a career-high with 10 points while playing a career-best 25 minutes.
Travon Baker dished out four assists, tying a career-high. Baker also finished with five points and three rebounds.
• NIU shot 50 percent (5-of-10) from behind the 3-point arc in the second half against the Rockets.

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.

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.