Huskies Host Bowling Green Monday in MAC Tournament

GO HUSKIES Travon Baker scored a game-high 13 points in the first meeting this season with the Falcons
GO HUSKIES
Travon Baker scored a game-high 13 points in the first meeting this season with the Falcons
GO HUSKIES

March 9, 2014

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2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament First Round
Northern Illinois Huskies (14-16, 8-10 MAC) vs. Bowling Green Falcons(12-19, 6-12 MAC)
Date / Time: Monday, March 10, 2014 / 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. • NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Video: NIUHuskies.com
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: Bowling Green leads 30-26
Last Meeting: Jan. 12, 2014 • NIU, 45-36

DID YOU KNOW?
• Over the last five games, NIU is shooting 78.7 percent (100-of-127) as a team from the free-throw line. The Huskies finished league play ranked fifth in the MAC in free throw shooting, connecting at 70 percent.
• NIU is hosting a first round game in the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2003. The Huskies are seeded seventh in the MAC Tournament, the first time NIU has been seeded better than 10th since 2006.
Aaric Armstead is fourth in the MAC among freshmen in scoring (9.6 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (4.6 rpg) in conference play. Armstead is the only player that ranks in the top-five in both categories. In the last eight games, Armstead is averaging 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
• In his last 14 games, Jordan Threloff is averaging 12.0 points per game, shooting 51.5 percent from the field and 79.5 percent from the free-throw line. Threloff is also averaging 8.4 rebounds per game during that stretch.
• The Huskies are shooting 72.4 percent (347-of-479) from the free-throw line in the second half this season and just 63 percent (184-of-292) in the first half of games this season.
Travon Baker tied for sixth in the MAC in steals in conference play (1.8 spg), and is 11th overall (1.5 spg). Baker also ranks 15th in assists per game (2.5 apg).
Darrell Bowie is averaging 11.4 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in his last eight contests. Bowie has scored in double figures 13 times this season and has grabbed seven-or-more rebounds 17 times. Bowie missed the first game of his career at Western Michigan (March 4) due to illness, but came back with 17 points against Ball State in the regular season finale (March 8).
Pete Rakocevic is shooting 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from the field over the past 13 games.
• NIU is ranked 19th nationally in offensive rebounds per game (13.79), 39th in scoring defense (63.9 ppg) and 42nd in rebounding margin (+4.8) as of the last NCAA Stats, released on March 7.
• Four of NIU’s last five losses have come by five points or less. The Huskies fell by three to Western Michigan (Feb. 9) and at Central Michigan (Feb. 23), by four at Eastern Michigan (March 1) and by five at Western Michigan (March 4). NIU’s other loss in the last 11 games came by eight, 62-54, at Akron (Feb. 15).
• The Huskies have won seven games this season by seven points or less, NIU won just one game by seven or fewer points all of last season.
• NIU has played 11 games decided by five points or less, 14 games decided by seven points or less and 20 games by nine points or less.
• NIU’s 14 wins this season are more than the combined total from the two previous years (10). The 14 wins are the most for a Huskie team since going 17-11 during the 2005-06 season.
Aksel Bolin has appeared 112 games during his NIU career, but saw his streak of 86 consecutive games snapped at Ball State due to illness. The NIU record for career games played in 117, by Anthony Maestranzi and Todd Peterson (2002-06).
• With the addition of two conference game and an unbalanced schedule in the MAC, NIU is one of three schools (Ball State and Ohio) to play the top-three seeds in the MAC Tournament twice in the regular season.
• The Huskies have lost 62 man games due to injury this season, not including redshirts, and are currently dressing nine scholarship players.

NIU IN THE MAC TOURNAMENT
• NIU is seeded seventh in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, its best seed since 2006 when the Huskies were seeded second. Prior to this season, NIU had been seeded 10th or worse for seven consecutive tournaments.
• The Huskies will be playing a home game in the MAC Tournament for the first time since 2003. That season, NIU was seeded fourth and defeated Buffalo, 81-64, at home. The Huskies went on to defeat Western Michigan in the quarterfinals in Cleveland before falling to Central Michigan in the semifinals.
• NIU is 9-18 all-time in the MAC Tournament. The lone tournament title for the Huskies came in 1982 when they defeated Ball State, 79-75 in overtime, to claim the title.
• Since returning to the MAC for the 1999-2000 season, NIU is 3-14 all-time in the conference tournament. The Huskies had a nine-game losing streak from the 2003 semifinals through 2011 in the tournament. The streak was snapped when NIU defeated Eastern Michigan, 55-52, in 2012 in Mark Montgomery’s first MAC Tournament game at NIU.
• NIU is 4-0 all-time at home in the MAC Tournament. The Huskies won home quarterfinal contests in 1980, ’81 and ’82, along with their first round win over Buffalo in 2003.

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN
• Bowling Green comes to DeKalb with a 12-19 overall record, 6-12 in Mid-American Conference play. The Falcons have lost three-straight and face the longest trip in the MAC to play the first round matchup, having ended the regular season at Buffalo.
• Five players score in double figures for the Falcons, although leading scorer Chauncey Orr (14.0 ppg) has appeared in just one game. Richaun Holmes (13.4 ppg), Spencer Parker (12.7 ppg), Jehvon Clarke (12.4 ppg) and Anthony Henderson (10.7 ppg) also score in double figures for Bowling Green.
• Holmes, Parker, Clarke, Henderson and Cameron Black have combined to play 82 percent of the minutes this season for the Falcons. Only one other player, J.D. Tisdale, has played more than 250 minutes this season.

THE LAST MEETING
• NIU defeated Bowling Green, 45-36, to record its first victory over the Falcons at the Stroh Center and its first win at Bowling Green since 2006.
• The 36 points allowed by the Huskies were the fewest allowed by NIU during Mark Montgomery’s tenure and the fewest since holding Akron to 30 in a 48-30 victory on Jan. 26, 1991.
• The Huskies allowed just 12 field goals, the fewest during Mark Montgomery’s tenure at NIU.
• Bowling Green’s 29.3 percent shooting from the field was the lowest by a Huskie opponent this season.
Travon Baker scored a game-high 13 points in the contest, including six in the final two minutes to help seal the victory.
• NIU trailed by one, 35-34, with just over three minutes remaining before outscoring Bowling Green 11-1 in the closing minutes to claim the victory.
• Three Huskies grabbed at least seven rebounds in the game, led by eight from Darrell Bowie and Jordan Threloff. Aksel Bolin also pulled down seven boards against the Falcons.

THE TURNAROUND
• Third-year head coach Mark Montgomery has NIU headed in the right direction, after two years of laying the foundation of his program; the fruits of that labor are starting to show. Consider the following…
• NIU’s 14 wins this season are more than the combined total from the two previous years (10). The 14 wins are the most for a Huskie team since going 17-11 during the 2005-06 season.
• The nine-win improvement over last season’s five wins is tied for the best single-season win improvement in school history.
• NIU’s eight conference wins are also the most for the Huskies since recording 12 during the 2005-06 season.
• NIU currently has a RPI of 209; the Huskies have not finished with an RPI above 260 since the 2005-06 season.
• The Huskies currently rank 203 in the KenPom ratings. NIU has not finished a season above 230 since the 2006-07 campaign.
• NIU defeated Toledo, 74-66 on Feb. 26, the Rockets are currently ranked 37th in the RPI. The Huskies have not posted a top-50 RPI win since defeating Wisconsin, 55-51, on Dec. 14, 1999. The Badgers finished the 1999-2000 season ranked 21st in the RPI.
• NIU is seeded seventh in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, its best seed since being seeded second in 2006. NIU is hosting a first round game in the conference tournament for the first time since 2003.
• The Huskies have won five road games this season, the most for the program since winning six in 2005-06.
• NIU’s nine home wins are the most for the program since winning 10 during the 2005-06 season.
• The Huskies finished the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 6-6 record, marking the most non-conference wins for NIU since winning six in 1999-2000.
• NIU has had 76 double figure scoring games this season, NIU had just 46 such performances last year.
• The Huskies have had 44 seven-plus rebound performances this season; NIU had just 22 a year ago.
• In NIU’s 88-63 victory over Central Michigan (Feb. 12), the Huskies recorded their largest margin of victory over a conference foe (25) since defeating Eastern Michigan, 94-61 (33) on Feb. 26, 2006. NIU’s 88 points is the most for the program against a Division I opponent since defeating Chicago State, 99-93, on Jan. 6, 2010.
• NIU had a three-game winning streak from Jan. 29-Feb. 4, winning at Kent State and Ball State along with a home win over Miami (Ohio). The three-game winning streak is NIU’s longest since winning six-straight in the 2009-10 season (Jan. 2, 2010-Jan. 20, 2010).
• NIU defeated Bowling Green, 45-36, to record its first victory at Bowling Green since 2006. The 36 points allowed by the Huskies were the fewest allowed by NIU since holding Akron to 30 in a 48-30 victory on Jan. 26, 1991.


 

 

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