DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team heads back out on the road, as the Huskies travel to Muncie, Indiana to square off with the Ball State Cardinals for a 6 p.m. (CST) tip-off on Tuesday (Mar. 4) evening at Worthen Arena.
The Huskies are coming off an 80-73 defeat at the hands of Central Michigan on Senior Day at the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday (Mar. 1) afternoon. NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson posted a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds in the defeat. Anderson leads NIU in scoring (11.4 ppg.), while backcourt mate Jarvis Nichols is chipping in 10.5 points-per-game.
Ball State enters Tuesday's contest on a three-game losing streak, culminating with a 75-64 defeat at the hands of Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Junior forward Anthony Newell paces the Cardinals offensive attack with 16.4 points-per-game, while senior guard Peyton Stovall is averaging 13.8 points-per-game.
All-Time Series: Ball State holds a 40-30 lead over the Huskies in their all-time series.
The Last Time: NIU senior center Egan Grafel converted a three-point play with 20 seconds left to help the Huskies to the 60-58 victory over Ball State on January 22, 2008 at the NIU Convocation Center. NIU senior forward Shaun Logan led the Huskies with 19 points, while Ball State junior forward Anthony Newell posted a game-high 24 points.
Perfect From The Line: Junior guard Jarvis Nichols knocked down all 11 of his free throw attempts against Central Michigan on Saturday, extending his consecutive free throw streak to 27. Nichols needs to drain his next seven charity shots to break the NIU record of 33, set by Todd Peterson during the 2005-06 campaign.
Charity Stripe: Northern Illinois went to the free throw line 46 times against Central Michigan on Saturday (Mar. 1), marking the most attempts in a game since the Huskies attempted 53 against Texas A&M on January 5, 1994.
Movin' On Up: Freshman guard Darion Anderson is the first Huskie rookie to lead the squad in scoring (11.4 ppg.) since NIU all-time leading scorer T.J. Lux averaged 15.2 points-per-game during the 1995-96 season. Anderson, the leading freshman scorer in the Mid-American Conference, needs four more points to pass Chuck Schramm for the fourth most points scored by a Huskie freshman in a single-season.
Across The Board: Freshman guard Darion Anderson is inching closer to becoming the first Huskie player in school history, since assists were recorded, to lead NIU in scoring, rebounding and assists. Anderson currently leads the squad in scoring (11.4 ppg.) and assists (2.8), but trails Egan Grafel by a single carom for the team lead in rebounds.
20/20 Vision: Both Darion Anderson (24 points) and Michael Patton (22 points) reached the 20-point plateau against Akron on February 12, marking the first time since March 4, 2006 that the Huskies had two players score 20 points in the same contest. Todd Peterson posted a game-high 24 points, while Anthony Maestranzi had 20 tallies to help NIU to the 74-59 win and 2006 MAC West Division title over Western Michigan.
Like Father, Like Son: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton is one of 13 coaches across America, whose son is playing for his squad. Michael Patton is a freshman point guard for the Huskies, who is averaging 7.0 points-per-game.
My Name Is: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson also is referred to as "Jake", short for his middle name, Jakeon.
Recruiting Class: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has inked four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, including guards Mike Dinunno (Chicago, Ill./Von Steuben), Bryan Hall (Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young), Dominique Johnson (Detroit, Mich./Southwest Tennessee C.C.) and forward Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo) to play for the Huskies in 2008.
Welcome Back Jake: Since his return to the starting line-up, freshman guard Darion Anderson is averaging 15.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists-per-game in NIU's last nine contests.
Hot Shooting: NIU shot a season-best 64.6% (31-for-48) from the field against Akron on February 12, their best performance since a 65.0% (26-for-40) outing against Toledo on January 24, 2006. It was their best road shooting performance since February 19, 1983, when the Huskies shot 64.8% (35-for-54) against Toledo.
Are You Experienced?: Of NIU's 11 active players, the Huskies have seven student-athletes who are in their first season of Division I basketball.
Freshman `20': With his 20 point performance against Western Michigan on January 5, guard Michael Patton became NIU's second freshman this season, joining Darion Anderson, to reach the 20-point plateau in a game. The last time NIU had two freshmen each score at least 20 points in a game during a season was during the 1973-74 campaign, when both Carroll Holmes and Ricky Hicks each accomplished that feat.
Fine Freshman: Huskie guard Darion Anderson is the top scoring freshman in the Mid-American Conference (as of Mar. 1), averaging 11.4 points-per-game.
Blazin' Bench: The NIU bench outscored the Huskie starters 41-22 in the 77-63 loss to Central Michigan on January 18, marking the seventh time this season, the most in NIU Division I history, that the reserves have accomplished that feat.
Up Next: The Huskies wrap up the regular season on Sunday, March 9, as they head to Ypsilanti, Michigan to square off with Eastern Michigan for a 1 p.m. (CST) tip-off at the Convocation Center.