Men's Basketball Opens Campaign with Exhibition vs. Freed-Hardeman

GO HUSKIES Darion Anderson
GO HUSKIES
Darion Anderson
GO HUSKIES

Freed-Hardeman-Northern Illinois Game Notes Package Get Acrobat Reader

Nov. 1, 2008

DEKALB, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team will take a break from preseason practice and scrimmage sessions by hosting Freed-Hardeman in the first of two exhibition games Sunday at the Convocation Center beginning at 2 p.m.

Freed Hardeman, under the leadership of head coach Jason Shelton, is an NAIA affiliate, and competes in the TranSouth Athletic Conference. The Lions finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 20-11 record, including a 12-9 mark in conference play. Freed-Hardeman will also be playing its first of two exhibition games.

NIU is coming off last season's 6-22 (3-12 MAC) campaign, finishing sixth in the West Division in the first year under the tutelage of head coach Ricardo Patton. The Huskies' lone returning starter is reigning MAC Freshman of the Year Darion "Jake" Anderson, but NIU welcomes six newcomers to the mix, including 2007-08 red-shirts Lee Fisher, and Sean Kowal, a Colorado transfer.

In all, 10 players that were either red-shirted or did not play last season will take the court for the Huskies in 2008-09. Anderson, who led the Huskies in both scoring and rebounding in 10 contests last season, was also a preseason All-Mid-American Conference pick. Five of NIU's six wins last season occurred inside the confines of the Convocation Center.

NIU was picked sixth in the MAC-West Division, and was preceded by preseason favorite Western Michigan (122 points), which collected a division-high 15 first-place votes; Eastern Michigan (105), third-place Central Michigan (79), Toledo (71) and fifth-ranked Ball State (55). The Huskies tallied 39 points in the MAC News Media Association poll to earn the sixth-place prognostication, as announced by the league office at Wednesday's annual media day in Cleveland.

The Huskies will wrap up the exhibition portion of their season next Saturday (Nov. 8) against visiting Carthage College. NIU opens the 2008-09 regular-season Nov. 14 versus Maine in the first-round of the 100 Club Classic in Kennesaw, Ga.