Feb. 16, 2010
NORTHERN ILLINOIS (8-16, 4-8 MAC) AT WESTERN MICHIGAN (13-12, 5-7 MAC) » February 17, 2010 » University Arena » Kalamazoo, Mich. » 6 p.m. CST
Tip-off: 6 p.m. CST
Radio: Northern Illinois ISP Sports Network (WLBK, 1360, [DeKalb]/WSCR 670 [Chicago])
Television: CSN Plus (Comcast Channel 101)/FS Detroit/FS Ohio
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com/WMUBroncos.com (Click Here!)
Social Media Coverage: Twitter.com/NIUAthletics; Twitter.com/MACMBBall
Series Record/Streak: Western Michigan leads, 45-29/W2
Game Notes as Downloadable PDF
DEKALB, Ill. - Northern Illinois will look to secure its third road in Mid-American Conference West Division play Wednesday, when the Huskies travel to University Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich., to take on Western Michigan. NIU has won two-straight over the Broncos, dating back to last season.
NIU is coming off last Saturday's 71-66 loss versus visiting Ball State. The Huskies held the Cardinals to just a 30 percent first half shooting effort, but Ball State countered with a 59.3 percent output in the second stanza, and out-scored NIU 46-39 during the final 20 minutes. NIU out-scored the Cardinals off turnovers (21-8), in second chance opportunities (11-8) and through its bench (16-8), but was out-rebounded, 41-36, and had only one player (Xavier Silas) score in double figures.
Silas posted his first-career double-double with 30 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Ball State was led by point guard Randy Davis' 20 points - he was joined in double figures by forward Jarrod Jones (16) and Pierre Sneed, who chipped in 11 points.
NIU took a 62-61 lead with 2:16 remaining after a three-pointer by Michael Patton, and after giving up the lead, tied the score (64-64) after two free throws by Silas with 1:27 left. But the Huskies didn't convert on the offensive end for the ensuing 59 seconds, and clutch free throws helped the Cardinals clinch the win.
NEXT UP ...
For its 2010 ESPNU BracketBusters game, Northern Illinois will travel to Charleston, Ill., on Saturday, to take on host Eastern Illinois at Lantz Arena beginning at 6 p.m. The Panthers are 14-11 on the season, 8-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference, and have won three-straight contests.
Northern Illinois will look to record its third-straight win over Western Michigan, a feat the Huskies have accomplished five other times in the all-time series ... The Huskies have dropped 14-of their last 15 games in Kalamazoo -- the lone win came in a 74-59 victory to secure the 2006 MAC-West championship at University Arena on March 4, 2006 ... During MAC play, NIU is 2-4 on the road, averaging 64.3 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 70.3 points per contest ... Junior guard Xavier Silas is averaging 17.0 points per outing in MAC road games; Sean Kowal has scored 10.7 points along with 6.3 rebounds per game, while Darion "Jake" Anderson has added 10.0 points per MAC road game ... Northern Illinois has dropped its last three games by a combined 13 points, and in the past two contests (at Bowling Green and versus Ball State), has owned a one-point lead with under two minutes remaining -- the Huskies are committing an average of just 12.3 turnovers per game during that stretch ... Anderson enters the game with 1,094 career points, just six tallies away from 1,100 -- he also boasts 95 career steals, and is only five thefts from becoming the first player in NIU history to score 1,000 or more points, pull down at least 400 rebounds, dish out 200 or more assists and tally at least 100 career steals ... Sophomore guard Mike DiNunno is scheduled to make his 50th career start against Western Michigan ... Lee Fisher enters Wednesday's game with 99 points this season, and Michael Fakuade has scored 94 points -- they would become the respective sixth and seventh players to score at least 100 points on the season should they reach or pass the plateau against the Broncos.
WITH A WIN, NIU WOULD ...
» Tie its entire Mid-American Conference win total from the 2008-09 campaign
» Sweep the home-and-away season series versus Western Michigan
» Move even with Western Michigan in the West Division standings, and own the MAC Tournament tiebreaker
WITH A LOSS, NIU WOULD ...
» Lose its ninth-consecutive MAC game
» Drop its third contest against a MAC-West foe this season
» Split the season series with Western Michigan for the second-consecutive season
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Northern Illinois enters Saturday's game with an 8-16 overall record, 4-8 in the Mid-American Conference, and has dropped eight-straight league decisions. The Huskies are 3-9 on the road this season, but two of those wins have come in MAC-West divisional play.
The Huskies are being led offensively by junior guard Xavier Silas, who is averaging a MAC second-best 19.5 points per game, including 20.3 points per contest in conference play. Junior backcourt mate Darion "Jake" Anderson has provided 11.1 points per game in conference play, while junior center Sean Kowal, who leads the MAC in field goal percentage (.613), has added 9.8 points with a team-leading 6.1 rebounds per league game.
In conference play, the Huskies rank second in offensive rebounds (13.17 rpg), rebounding margin (+1.9), blocks (3.92) and assists per game (14.58), while ranking third in assist/turnover ratio (1.06) and defensive rebounds (25.58 rpg).
At home, Northern Illinois is averaging 61.9 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 73.6 points per contest. Silas is scoring 16.1 points per game in 10 road games, while Kowal (9.6 ppg) and Anderson (9.0 ppg) have helped carry the scoring load.
SCOUTING THE BRONCOS
Western Michigan enters Wednesday's game with a 13-12 record, and is 5-7 in MAC play. The Broncos, who are playing their first home game since Feb. 6, are 9-3 at University Arena this season.
The Broncos are being led by preseason Second-Team All-MAC selection David Kool, who is averaging a league-best 21.0 points per game, including 22.5 points per MAC contest. Martelle McLemore has added 11.7 points per game, while Flenard Whitfield is scoring 9.4 points per outing. Donald Lawson (7.7 rpg) is the Broncos' leading rebounder.
In MAC play, Western Michigan ranks second in the league in steals per game (7.25), and is fourth in both field goal percentage (.435) and turnover margin (+0.75). The Broncos are also the MAC's fifth-ranked free throw shooting team, at 71.0 percent.
LAST TIME AGAINST WESTERN MICHIGAN
Sophomore guard Mike DiNunno scored a season-best 21 points, and dished out a career-high 10 assists for his first career double-double, helping lift the Huskies to a come-from-behind 87-77 win over visiting Western Michigan at the Convocation Center on Jan. 13.
Down by as many as 14 in the opening frame, Darion "Jake" Anderson sparked an 11-5 run that sent both teams to the locker room, tied 41-41 at the half. The Huskies shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, including five three-pointers, to out-score the Broncos in the final 20 minutes, 46-36. NIU's bench also held a decisive edge, 28-7.
DiNunno's 21 points led a foursome of Huskies in double figures -- Sean Kowal (18 points), Xavier Silas (15) and Anderson (12) also combined for 45 points. WMU was led by David Kool, who poured in a game-high 26 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including a 9-for-10 effort from the free throw line. Martelle McLemore (14 points) and Donald Lawson (12) joined Kool in double figures.
BACK TO THE WILD, WILD WEST
Northern Illinois began the second-round of MAC-West divisional play with a five-point (71-66) loss versus Ball State last Saturday, but that was just its second defeat to a MAC-West team this season. The Huskies went 4-1 in the division to begin the MAC season, including a 4-0 start in league play for the first time in school history.
CRACKING THE TOP-20
Junior guard Darion "Jake" Anderson's six points against Ball State vaulted him into the top-20 of the career scoring list at Northern Illinois. Anderson, who has 1,094 career points and is now ranked 20th all-time, passed Mike McKinney (1,090) who was in attendance for the contest, and participated in the annual alumni game at the Convocation Center earlier that morning. Anderson enters Wednesday's game just 20 points short of George Bork (1960-63) for 19th on the all-time scoring list.
AN EFFICIENT CLIP
Sean Kowal, who led the Mid-American Conference in field goal percentage as a sophomore, is well on his way to leading the league in the same category in his junior campaign. Kowal is shooting a MAC-best 61.3 percent from the field in league contests, and in all games, paces the MAC with a 55.3 shooting percentage. Kowal has scored in double figures eight times this season, boasts a team-high tying two double-doubles, and has led the Huskies in rebounding on eight occasions.
SILAS, STATISTICALLY SPEAKING
Junior guard Xavier Silas, in his first season in a Huskie uniform, has wasted no time getting adjusted to Mid-American Conference basketball. The Colorado transfer ranks second in the MAC in scoring (19.5 ppg), 19th in rebounding (5.4 rpg), eighth in free throw percentage (.800), 11th in three-point field goals made per game (1.95), and 17th in minutes played (30.95 mpg). In conference games, Silas has upped his scoring to a MAC second-best 20.3 points per game, ranks eighth in both free throw percentage (.835) and three-pointers per contest (2.00) and is tied for 15th in minutes played (32.08 mpg).
MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Darion "Jake" Anderson, who became just the 15th player in NIU history to score at least 1,000 points before the end of his third season versus Eastern Michigan (Jan. 16), continues to move up the individual record book charts at NIU, ranking in the top-20 all-time in points (1,094; 20th), field goals attempted (889; t-20th), three-point field goals (77; 20th), three-point field goals attempted (264; 17th), free throws made (285; 7th), free throws attempted (405; 9th), assists (230; 12th), steals (95; 12th), games started (70; 17th) and minutes per game (30.2; 9th). Anderson is the Huskies' career active leader in points, rebounds (451), assists, steals, field goals, three-point field goals and free throws made, and total minutes played (2,443).
CRASHING THE BOARDS
As mentioned, the Huskies rank second in the league in offensive rebounds (13.17 rpg), and third in defensive boards (25.58 rpg), in Mid-American Conference games -- NIU also boasts the league's second-highest rebounding margin (+1.9). The Huskies have out-rebounded 12 of their opponents this season, including six in MAC play, and have corralled at least 10 offensive rebounds in 20 individual contests.
NIU DRAWS EASTERN ILLINOIS FOR BRACKETBUSTERS CONTEST
The Huskies will travel 220 miles southeast to Charleston, Ill., for the 2010 ESPNU BracketBusters contest, as the ESPN Family of Networks announced on Feb. 1 that NIU will take on host Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 20, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Huskies will be playing in their fifth road game during the history of the BracketBusters series. NIU owns a 45-41 edge in the all-time series against Eastern Illinois, but the two teams have not gone head-to-head since the 2004-05 campaign (12/11/04). Dating back to the 2004-05 season, the Huskies are 1-3 in BracketBusters contests. NIU defeated host SEMO last season (2/21/09), 97-73.
PLAYER(S) OF THE WEEK LIVE HERE
The Northern Illinois men's basketball team is taking ownership of the weekly awards in the Mid-American Conference West Division. In January, junior guard Darion "Jake" Anderson (1/18/2010) and Xavier Silas (1/4/2010 and 1/11/2010) combined for three-straight MAC-West Player of the Week awards for the first time in school history. Silas has also been named the MAC Male Scholar-Athlete of the Week twice.
FILLIN' IT UP
Junior guard Xavier Silas enters Wednesday's contest averaging 19.5 points in his 19 games played this season. He has scored 20 or more points eight times this season, boasts a total of 16 double digit scoring outputs, and has been the Huskies' leading scorer on 14 occasions. He owns NIU's top-eight individual scoring performances this season, including career-high 31 points versus Ohio (1/27/2010). Silas also paces the Huskies in free throw percentage (.800), making 155 trips to the charity stripe.
POINT `N SHOOT
As simple as it may sound, the Northern Illinois men's basketball team is at its best when it is shooting the ball well. The Huskies are 7-0 when shooting a better percentage than their opponent this season, and 21-6 over the past three campaigns. In addition, the Huskies are 5-2 when shooting 35 percent or better from three-point range this season.
HUSKIES PICKED SECOND IN MAC-WEST
One year after being picked to finish sixth in the Mid-American Conference West Division, Northern Illinois was slotted second in the 2009-10 preseason media poll, as announced by the conference office on Oct. 28. In addition, junior guard Darion "Jake" Anderson was named to the preseason West Division All-MAC team for the second-consecutive season. The Huskies were picked second behind division favorite Central Michigan.
Northern Illinois sophomore guard Mike DiNunno became the third player this season to record a double-double with his 21 points and 10 assists versus Western Michigan (1/16/2010). The Huskies' junior tandem of Darion "Jake" Anderson and Sean Kowal has also posted a combined three double-doubles. Junior guard Xavier Silas recorded NIU's fourth double-double of the season with his 30 points and career-high 10 rebounds versus Ball State last Saturday (2/13/2010).