Northern Illinois men's basketball rookie Todd Peterson named to MAC All-Freshman team

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March 10, 2003

NORTHERN ILLINOIS MEN'S BASKETBALL ROOKIE TODD PETERSON NAMED TO MAC ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
CLEVELAND, OH - All season long the freshmen on the Northern Illinois University men's basketball team have played an important role in turning the Huskies into one of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference. While all have stepped up at different times, guard Todd Peterson (Pekin) has been the most consistent of the bunch. For his efforts he was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team as announced by league commissioner Rick Chryst on Monday (March 10).

Joining Peterson on the all-rookie squad was Sammy Villegas of Toledo, Bowling Green State's Ron Lewis, Josh Hausfeld from Miami (OH) and Kent State's DeAndre Hayes. Voting was done by the 13 conference coaches. The MAC News Media association named Villegas Freshman of the Year.

"The three freshmen have been a big part of the success of our team this season," NIU head coach Rob Judson said. "We're happy that Todd can represent our team on the all-freshman squad."

Not since T.J. Lux was named to the Midwestern Collegiate Conference's All-Newcomer team in 1996-97 has a Northern Illinois rookie been honored. Among the league freshmen, Peterson ranks sixth in scoring with his 6.1 points per game, which rates him fourth on the squad.

Behind the arc is where he gets most of his notoriety. Peterson's 53 three-pointers-a Northern Illinois freshman record-rate second within the rookie ranks and tenth overall in the conference. In marksmanship he places second amongst the freshman at 40.8 percent. On six occasions this year he made three or more treys, including a career-high half dozen in a homecoming game at Illinois State.

His best back-to-back games came against Buffalo (February 6) and Kent State (February 8). First he scorched the Bulls for 17 points while grabbing a career-high seven rebounds. Versus the Golden Flashed he tossed in 14 points, including a three-pointer that gave the Huskies the lead for good in the 67-61 triumph. Peterson's performance earned him some recognition from ESPN.com as the site's Weekly Watch picked him as a player on their radar.

"Todd has been the most consistent performance among our freshmen during the conference season," Judson added. "He has improved his defense and been a consistent three-point threat."

Six different times this year Peterson has reached double digits, including a personal-best 19 markers against Eastern Michigan (January 18. The game against the Eagle was indicative off his play against conference competition as he upped his scoring average to 7.3 ppg. against league opponents.

Peterson and his teammates are in action Monday night when they play host to Buffalo at 7:05 p.m. in the first round of the MAC Tournament. The winner advances to Cleveland for the quarterfinal game at 9 p.m. (EST) against the winner of the Western Michigan-Toledo contest.

-Copy by Michael Smoose-

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