Huskies to Host Central Michigan Saturday on Senior Night

GO HUSKIES Senior guard Tony Nixon
GO HUSKIES
Senior guard Tony Nixon
GO HUSKIES

March 1, 2013

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Northern Illinois Huskies (5-21, 3-10 MAC) vs. Central Michigan Chippewas (9-18, 2-11 MAC)
Date / Time: Saturday, March 2, 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: NIUHuskies.com
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Northern Illinois leads 50-45
Last Meeting: Jan. 23, 2013 • NIU 74-61

WHAT’S TRENDING
• Tonight is Northern Illinois’ final home game of the regular season. Prior to tonight’s game the Huskies will honor their two seniors, Tony Nixon and Brandon Hayes.
• NIU head coach Mark Montgomery began his coaching career as an assistant at Central Michigan (1997-2001), Huskie assistant coach Jon Borovich played for the Chippewas during that same time.
Mike Davis tied a career-high with nine points against Eastern Michigan (Feb. 27), Davis also scored nine points earlier this year at DePaul (Dec. 16).
Antone Christian is shooting 45.5 percent from behind the 3-point line in the last five games.
Daveon Balls has a 1.7 assist/turnover ratio over the last 11 games. Fellow freshman point guard Travon Baker has a 1.7 assist/turnover ratio in the last four games.
Darrell Bowie is making a case for inclusion on the MAC All-Freshman Team. Bowie is averaging 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game during conference play, ranking sixth in scoring among conference freshmen in league play and fifth in rebounding. Bowie entered league play averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
Travon Baker is shooting 87.5 percent from the free-throw line over the last 10 games.
J.J. Cravatta is averaging 4.0 points per game over the past 12 contests, playing an average of 13.8 minutes per game. Prior to that time, Cravatta was averaging just 1.5 points per contest.
Brandon Hayes scored the first points of his collegiate career last time out against Eastern Michigan.
Abdel Nader has scored in double figures in 13 games this season; Nader has scored in double figures in 29 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 57-straight contests; neither has missed a game in their collegiate career.

NADER BY THE NUMBERS
Abdel Nader does not appear among the MAC individual statistical leaders because he has not appeared in 75 percent of NIU’s games, if he had, Nader would rank in the top-15 of five different categories.
• Nader would rank 11th in scoring (13.1 points per game), 13th in rebounding (5.6 per contest), 10th in free throw percentage (77.2 percent), 11th in steals (1.3 per game) and ninth in defensive rebounds (4.1 per game).
• In league play, just three players in the MAC, Nader, Kent State’s Chris Evans and Buffalo’s Javon McCrea, rank in the top 20 in scoring as well as the top 15 in rebounding, blocks and steals.
• If he had played enough games to be eligible for overall statistical leaders, Nader would be the only player in the league to rank in the top-15 in points, rebounds and free-throw percentage.

FINDING THEIR STRIDE
Northern Illinois’ post players have found their shooting touch in recent games, with each of them shooting much better percentages during a recent stretch.
• Over the last eight games, Darrell Bowie is shooting 50 percent from the field. Prior to that stretch, Bowie was shooting 41.9 percent for the season.
• In that same eight game stretch, Keith Gray is shooting 61.9 percent from the field, Gray shot 36.5 percent from the field in the first 18 games of the year.
• Another one of NIU’s primary post players, Sam Mader, is still working his way back from a shoulder injury that saw him miss five games. Mader has played 36 total minutes in the last six contests.

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.

A LOOK AT THE 2012-13 SEASON
• Freshmen have played 54.8 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 27.4 percent of the minutes (a total of 82.2 percent by underclassmen).
• The team leading at halftime has won all but two games played by NIU this season. The lone exceptions were at Miami (Jan. 9) when the Huskies and RedHawks were tied at the half, NIU won that contest and at Western Michigan (Feb. 16), when NIU led at the half but the Broncos came from behind to win.
• Five Huskies, Travon Baker, Aksel Bolin, Darrell Bowie, Keith Gray and Kevin Gray, have played in all 26 games this season. No player has started all 26 games, with Bolin and Kevin Gray making the most starts (21 each).
• With victories over Miami and Kent State, NIU recorded multiple wins against the MAC East Division for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
• 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 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 (1.64) behind Texas (1.42) and Dartmouth (1.62).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation’s least experienced teams.

IN THE MAC RANKINGS
Travon Baker is nint in the MAC, tops among freshmen, with 1.4 steals per game.
Abdel Nader ranked 16th in scoring in conference games at 12.0 points per contest and tied for 10th in rebounding at 5.9 boards per game. Nader is also tied for 15th at 1.3 steals per game.
Darrell Bowie is sixth in scoring among freshmen in league games (7.0 ppg) and fifth in rebounding among conference rookies in league play (4.2 rpg).  
• Northern Illinois leads the MAC in offensive rebounding, pulling down 12.7 offensive boards per game.
• The Huskies are third in defensive rebounding percentage at 70.3 percent and second in defensive rebounding percentage in conference play at 70.5 percent.  

GETTING TO THE LINE
• Northern Illinois has attempted 297 free throws during conference play, an average of 22.8 per contest.
• In contrast, the Huskies shot 190 free throws in non-conference action, an average of 14.6 trips per game.
Darrell Bowie (62) leads NIU in free throw attempts in MAC contests.
Travon Baker leads the Huskies in free throw shooting in conference play, connecting at a 78.3 percent clip.  

ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN
• The Chippewas come to DeKalb with a 9-18 overall record; 2-11 in Mid-American Conference play, Central Michigan has lost 10-straight coming into Saturday.
• Kyle Randall leads Central Michigan averaging 17.8 points per game, over 26 percent of CMU’s total points.
• The Chippewas are the second-best free-throw shooting team in the MAC (72.5 percent) and also make the second-most 3-point field goals per game (7.9).
• Keno Davis is in his first season as head coach at Central Michigan, Davis was previously the head coach at Drake and Providence before spending last season as an analyst for the Big Ten Network.

ALL-TIME SERIES
• Northern Illinois leads the all-time series with Central Michigan, 50-45.
• The Huskies defeated the Chippewas earlier this season, 74-61, in Mount Pleasant. The win was NIU’s first at CMU since 2006.
• Northern Illinois holds a 35-12 lead all-time in games played in DeKalb, the Huskies won last season’s home meeting 74-66 (Jan. 14, 2012).
• Centram Michigan’s last win in DeKalb came on Feb. 23, 2011, 64-58, the Chippewas have won 11 of the last 14 overall in the series.

EASTERN MICHIGAN RECAP
• Eastern Michigan knocked off NIU, 53-41, on Wednesday to sweep the season series between the two schools.
• NIU attempted just 42 field goals, its second-lowest total of the season. The Huskies had 41 attempts at Dayton (Dec. 1).
• The Eagles outscored the Huskies 20-6 in the paint.
Mike Davis tied a career-high with nine points against the Eagles.
Brandon Hayes made a pair of free throws for the first two points of his Huskie career.

EASTERN ILLINOIS RECAP
• Northern Illinois fell to Eastern Illinois, 59-47, this past Saturday in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster series.
• With the loss, NIU fell to 1-8 all-time in the BracketBuster.
Abdel Nader led the Huskies with 17 points and seven rebounds. Nader has led NIU in scoring 10 times this season and 25 times in his career.
• The contest featured five ties and 11 lead changes, all of which occurred in the first half.
• NIU committed a season-low seven turnovers, the lowest number for the Huskies since committing seven last season at Western Michigan (Jan. 11, 2012).

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.


 

 

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