May 14, 2010
2009-10 Season Photo Gallery
2009-10 Final Game Notes Package: Season Wrap-Up
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Northern Illinois finished the 2009-10 season with a 10-20 overall record, 6-10 in the Mid-American Conference, and occupied the No. 11 seed in the FirstEnergy MAC Tournament. The Huskies were 7-7 at home and 3-13 on the road.
The Huskies were led offensively by junior guard Xavier Silas, who is averaging a MAC second-best 19.7 points per game, including 20.4 points per contest in conference play. Junior backcourt mate Darion "Jake" Anderson provided 10.9 points per game in MAC action, while junior center Sean Kowal, who ranked third in the MAC in field goal percentage (.575), added 10.5 points with a team-leading 7.1 rebounds per league game.
In conference play, the Huskies led the league in offensive rebounds (14.00 rpg), while ranking second in both blocks per game (4.06) and rebounding margin (+2.4). NIU also ranked third in assists per game (13.94) and defensive rebounds (24.75 rpg).
At home, Northern Illinois averaged 71.7 points per game, while allowing its opponents to score 70.1 points per contest. The Huskies shot 42.2 percent from the field in home contests and out-rebounded their opponents by nearly six caroms per game (39.0-33.8). Silas averaged a team-high 22.8 points per game at the Convocation Center.
On the road, the Huskies averaged 63.3 points per contest, while allowing their opponents to score 73.5 points per game. NIU shot 38.3 percent from the field in road games, and was out-rebounded by its opponents, 38-1-37.7. Silas scored 17.3 points per road game, while Kowal added 11.0 points and 6.7 rebounds.
SILAS NAMED HONORABLE MENTION ALL-MAC
Northern Illinois junior guard Xavier Silas, who ended the 2009-10 season ranked second in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, was named to the Honorable Mention All-MAC team, as announced by the league office in conjunction with the quarterfinal round of the FirstEnergy MAC Tournament.
In MAC play, Silas ranked second in the league in scoring (20.4 ppg), 19th in rebounding (5.6 rpg), eighth in free throw percentage (.832), fourth in three-point field goals per game (2.25) and 17th in minutes played (31.56 mpg).
For the season, Silas led the Huskies in points (493), scoring average (19.7), field goals (141), three-point field goals (52), free throws made (159) and attempted (196). His 493 points were the most scored by an NIU player in a single season since Leon Rodgers scored 596 points, the fifth-most in school history, during the 2001-02 campaign.
NABC TABS SILAS SECOND-TEAM ALL-DISTRICT HONOREE
Northern Illinois junior guard Xavier Silas, six days after being named to the Honorable Mention All-Mid-American Conference squad, was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 14 Second-Team, as voted on by members of the organization, and announced
Silas became the first NIU player to chalk up NABC All-District honors since the 1999-2000 campaign, when T.J. Lux accomplished the feat, and just the tenth player in program history to be recognized by the organization. Silas scored a career-high 31 points on 10 field goals against MAC Champion Ohio on Jan. 27. He also added 30 points with 10 rebounds for his first-career double-double versus Ball State on Feb. 13. Silas went 15-for-15 against the Cardinals in the MAC opener (1/9/2010), setting a school record for single-game free throw percentage.
SILAS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-MAC
Northern Illinois junior guard Xavier Silas, an honorable mention All-Mid-American Conference selection and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) second-team All-District honoree, was named to the five-member Academic All-MAC team Wednesday, the league office announced on April 14.
Silas became the first NIU player to chalk up Academic All-MAC honors since the 2006-07 campaign, when James Hughes accomplished the feat, and just the sixth player in program history to be named to the squad.
Silas carries a 3.353 grade-point-average as a pre-communications major at NIU. He was joined on the team by Bowling Green junior guard Joe Jakubowski and senior center Marc Larson, Buffalo senior guard John Boyer and Western Michigan senior guard David Kool.
CRASH THE BOARDS
The Huskies proved to be one of the Mid-American Conference's top rebounding teams last season, leading the league in offensive rebounds (14.00 rpg), while ranking second in rebounding margin (+2.4) during conference play. NIU's success on the boards also directly translated to its won-loss fate -- eight of the Huskies' 10 wins were tallied when they out-rebounded their opponent. NIU was 0-10 when being out-rebounded by the opposition.
AGAINST THE WEST
All six of Northern Illinois' Mid-American Conference wins during the 2009-10 season came against MAC-West foes, including road wins over Ball State and Toledo. The Huskies ended the season with a 6-4 record versus West Division opponents, but were 0-6 against the MAC-East.
SIX-GAME WINNING STREAK WAS HISTORICAL
Northern Illinois recorded a six-game winning streak between Jan. 2 and Jan. 20, the first of its kind since the 1995-96 NCAA Tournament season. The spurt included a 4-0 start to Mid-American Conference play for the first time in school history, and three-consecutive road wins, over Chicago State, Ball State and Toledo.
THE HUSKIES' 2010 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION
For the 2009-10 Northern Illinois basketball team, the month of January, and the start of the 2010 calendar year represented the hottest month in recent memory. NIU tallied six victories in January, the most wins the Huskies have compiled in a single month since winning seven games in the month of December during the 1994-95 season.
TOUGH GETTING OVER THE HUMP
Eight of Northern Illinois' final nine games of the 2009-10 campaign were decided by six points or less, but the Huskies posted just a 2-6 record in those contests. NIU also owned the lead, or forced a tie in the final seven minutes in each of the last nine contests of the season. In five of those games, NIU held at least a one-point lead in the last three minutes.
KOWAL'S STRONG SURGE
Junior center Sean Kowal, who finished the regular season ranked third in the Mid-American Conference in field goal percentage (.575), played like a player with a senior's "sense of urgency" down the stretch of the 2009-10 campaign. Over the final eight contests of the season, Kowal averaged 13.8 points (3.3 points above his season average) and 8.4 rebounds (2.0 rebounds more than average) per game. He led the Huskies in rebounding in each of the last six games, including three double-digit rebounding outputs.
POINT `N SHOOT
As simple as it sounds, the Northern Illinois men's basketball team was at its best when it shot the ball better than its opponent during the 2009-10 campaign. The Huskies were 7-0 when shooting a better percentage than their opponent, and are 21-6 over the past three seasons.
HUSKIE BLOCK PARTY
In both all games and conference-only contests, Northern Illinois ranked second in the Mid-American Conference in blocks per game (3.50 and 4.06 bpg, respectively) last season. Sean Kowal (25) and Xavier Silas (12), two of NIU's senior returnees next season, combined for 37 terminations.
MORE ON SILAS
Junior guard Xavier Silas, who averaged 19.7 points per game in 25 starts last season, was the only player in the Mid-American Conference last season to rank in the top-five of the league in scoring, and in the top-20 in rebounding (5.3 rpg; 19th). In MAC play, Silas also ranked in the top-five (tied for fourth) in three-point field goals made per game, drilling 2.25 threes per contest.
HOME SWEET HOME FOR PATTON
Northern Illinois head coach Ricardo Patton puts new meaning to the word "confines" when it comes to a home-court advantage. The third-year Huskie mentor owns a 147-66 (.690 winning percentage) home record as a college head coach, dating back to his 12-year run at Colorado. Patton has guided the Huskies to 19 home wins in his three seasons as the Huskie mentor.
Sean Kowal, a senior-to-be in 2010-11, enters his final season in a Huskie uniform aiming to be one of the most efficient post players in the history of Northern Illinois basketball. The 6-foot-11, 246-pound center is shooting 54.6 percent for his career, which ranks as the fourth-best mark in school history. Kowal led the MAC in field goal percentage as a sophomore (2008-09); ranked third in the category last season (2009-10), and has shot at least 60 percent from the field 22 times over that two-year span.
STEALIN' THE SHOW
Offensively, Northern Illinois has been at its best when getting out in transition the past two seasons. Much of that philosophy has been predicated on the Huskies' aggressiveness on the defensive end, specifically in getting out in the passing lanes and creating steals. In 2008-09, NIU tallied 239 steals (8.0 spg), the second-most in school history, and last season, the Huskies totaled 198 steals (6.6 spg), tied for the 10th-most in the history of the program.
HUSKIES HIT 2,000
Northern Illinois didn't have a problem scoring the basketball last season. In fact, the Huskies scored 2,017 points, the 17th-highest total in program history, and also the most since NIU poured in 2,030 points during the 2003-04 campaign.
EMPHASIS ON THE THREE
Under head coach Ricardo Patton, Northern Illinois has placed a concerted effort on the three-point shot, and been efficient in doing so. Two-of the top-10 made three-point field goal efforts (185 in 2008-09, and 176 in 2009-10) have come under the leadership of Patton. Last season, the Huskies attempted 587 threes, the second-most in school history.
FREE THROWS, TOO
The Huskies have been to the free throw line a combined 1,351 times the past two seasons (689 in 2009-10 and 662 times in 2008-09), with both single-season efforts ranking in the top-10 in school history. Northern Illinois converted 445 free throws last season, the seventh-most in school history.
FIRST-HALF SUCCESS IS KEY
As the old cliche' goes, it's not how you start, but how you finish. But how it starts has been just as important for the Northern Illinois basketball team the past three seasons. Under head coach Ricardo Patton, when the Huskies lead at halftime, they have compiled a record of 19-10. When NIU trails at intermission, it is just 5-48 the past three seasons.
The Huskies played a challenging non-conference schedule in 2009-10 that included three Big Ten Conference foes (Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota). Prior to this season, NIU hadn't faced an opponent from the Big Ten Conference since the 2006-07 campaign. In all, Northern Illinois faced five NCAA Tournament teams, and played a total of 10 games versus 2009 postseason opponents. When No. 18/19 Temple visited the Convocation Center (Dec. 30), it represented the highest-ranked team to play Northern Illinois in DeKalb since No. 18 DePaul visited Chick Evans Field House on Nov. 26, 1983, and the highest-ranked Associated Press Top-25 opponent to invade the Convocation Center in its seven-plus year history.
ESTABLISHING THE IN-STATE RIVALRIES
When Northern Illinois head coach Ricardo Patton took over the reins of the program prior to the 2007-08 season, one of his points of focus was to play an annually challenging non-conference schedule, and specifically, target the other 12 Division I schools in the state of Illinois. The Huskies have already played nine of those foes in the Patton era. The only Division I schools in the state of Illinois that NIU has not played or officially scheduled are DePaul, Illinois State and SIU-Edwardsville.
COACH "P" COMPLETES 15TH SEASON
Northern Illinois head coach Ricardo Patton completed his 15th season as a Division I head coach in the 2009-10 campaign. After spending 12 years as the mentor at Colorado, he was hired as the Huskies' 26th head coach on March 19, 2007. Patton is the second-longest tenured Division I head coach in the Mid-American Conference, behind only Miami's (Ohio) Charlie Coles, who completed his 20th season as a head coach last season.