Nov. 15, 2006
Northern Illinois vs. St. Mary (Minn.) Game Notes in PDF Format
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DeKalb, Ill. - It has been a little over a month since the Northern Illinois men's basketball team started practicing, and the Huskies are itching to face a team other than themselves.
NIU gets that opportunity tonight, as the Huskies welcome NCAA Division III opponent, St. Mary's (Minn.) to the NIU Convocation Center for their season-opening contest.
THE COACHES --Rob Judson begins his sixth season at the helm of the NIU men's basketball team, and has a career-record of 67-78, including last season's Mid-American Conference West Division championship. St. Mary's head coach Mike Trewick enters his third year as the Cardinals' skipper, and has a career-record of 14-36. Last season, Trewick led the Cardinals to a 9-16 record, the most wins by a St. Mary's squad since the 1999-2000 campaign.
THE SERIES -- NIU leads the all-time series against the Cardinals, 2-1. These teams have not met in over 50 years, as the Huskies earned the 66-56 victory over St. Mary's on December 14, 1950.
THE TEAMS -- After winning the 2006 MAC West Division championship, the Huskies look to regroup as they welcome seven new players to the squad. The cupboard, however, is far from bare, as NIU returns 2006 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, James Hughes and senior swingman Mike McKinney. St. Mary's looks for more production on the road in 2006-07, as the Cardinals won only two games away from Minnesota last season. In the MIAC Preseason Poll, St. Mary was picked to finish ninth out of 11 teams.
KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH -- NIU will look to their "Man In The Middle", 6-foot-11 senior, James Hughes. Hughes is not only a defensive presence, but currently holds the NIU career record for field-goal percentage at 57.6 percent. NIU swingman Mike McKinney has come back for his senior year in better shape than ever. McKinney hopes to regain his sophomore form, where the Evanston, Ill., native averaged a team-best 12.6 points-per-game and 6.1 rebounds-per-contest.
St. Mary's is led offensively by seniors Terrence Smith and Brensley Haywood. Both were named to the All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honorable mention squad last season. Smith averaged a team-best 12.0 points-per-game, whle Haywood followed close behind at 11.3 points-per-game.
OPENING STATEMENTS -- Northern Illinois is 2-3 in season openers under Judson with their last victory coming in a 83-76 triumph over Eastern Illinois in the lidlifter on November 22, 2003. The Huskies are also 2-3 in home openers under Judson.
Wednesday night's contest will be broadcast on the Huskie Radio Network with Bill Baker providing the play-by-play, and Casey Kahler with the color analysis. The game can be heard live on the Huskie Flagship Station, WLBK (1360 AM), WSCR (670 AM), WSEY (95.7 FM) and WRHL (1060 AM).
For more news, notes and information regarding Wednesday's contest, check out the early edition of game notes.