NIU Looks for Season Sweep at Central Michigan



Feb. 24, 2012

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Northern Illinois Huskies (3-23, 2-11 MAC) at Central Michigan Chippewas (8-19, 3-10 MAC)
Date: Sunday February 26, 2012
Tipoff: 1 p.m. (2 p.m. ET)
Location: McGuirk Arena • Mount Pleasant, Mich.
TV: SportsTime Ohio (also available on ESPN3)
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM in DeKalb and WSCR 670-AM in Chicago
Live Stats: CMU

The Match-Up
Northern Illinois concludes its three-game road trip on Sunday, Feb. 26, when the Huskies travel to Central Michigan. The Huskies defeated the Chippewas, 74-66, earlier this season (Jan. 14) in DeKalb. Tony Nixon enters Sunday’s contest having scored in double figures in three-straight games, Nixon made his first start of the season last time out at Eastern Michigan.

About Central Michigan
The Chippewas enter Sunday’s contest with an 8-19 overall record, 3-10 in conference play. Central Michigan is led by Trey Zeigler who is averaging 16.1 points, third-best in the MAC, and 6.6 rebounds per contest; Zeigler is the son of Chippewa head coach Ernie Zeigler. Derek Jackson (11.1) and Austin McBroom (10.4) also scored in double figures for Central Michigan. The Chippewas are the third-best turnover margin team in the MAC (+2.1) forcing 14.7 turnovers per game while committing just 12.6 turnovers per contest.

Against the Chippewas
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series against Central Michigan, 49-44. NIU won the previous meeting this season, 74-66, in DeKalb; the Huskies were led by 22 points from Abdel Nader and shot 63.2 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Chippewas lead the series, 30-14, in games played in Mount Pleasant. NIU’s last win on the road against Central Michigan came on Jan. 26, 2006 (49-43), the Huskies have lost in each of their last five trips to Mount Pleasant.

Back to Mount Pleasant
NIU head coach Mark Montgomery and assistant coach Jon Borovich will return to a familiar place on Sunday afternoon. Montgomery began his collegiate coaching career as an assistant under Jay Smith at Central Michigan (1997-2001), Borovich played at CMU during the same four seasons. During the 2000-01 season, the duo helped Central Michigan to a 20-8 record and a MAC regular season championship.

Nixon’s Streak Hits Three
Tony Nixon recorded back-to-back 12-point performances against Western Michigan (Feb. 15) and SIU Edwardsville (Feb. 18), in both games tying his best scoring performance since scoring 16 points against Tennessee State on Nov. 20, 2009. Nixon followed his two 12-point games with 10 points at Eastern Michigan (Feb. 22). The junior from South Holland, Ill., is averaging 11.3 points per game in the last three, shooting 50 percent from the field (12-of-24) and 45.5 percent (5-of-11) from three.

Nader Hits 14
With 10 points against Eastern Michigan (Feb. 22), Abdel Nader has scored in double figures in 14 games this season. Nader is averaging 10.0 points per contest, fourth-best among freshmen in the MAC. Nader also grabbed seven rebounds against the Eagles and has averaged 6.7 boards per contest in the last six games.

Kids on the Floor
With a roster featuring seven freshmen, youth will definitely be served for the 2011-12 Huskies. To date, 56.3 percent of the minutes played in the NIU lineup have been played by first year players; no other team in the MAC has had more than 22 percent of its minutes played by freshmen. Nationally, NIU is sixth in minutes played by freshmen; St. John’s leads the way with 73.9 percent of its minutes played by rookies.

Looking Ahead
The Huskies will return home on Wednesday, Feb. 29, when they host Toledo on senior night at the NIU Convocation Center. Tipoff against the Rockets is scheduled for 7 p.m.



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