Huskies Return to the Road to Face Iowa

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Nov. 16, 2011

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Northern Illinois Huskies (0-2, 0-0 MAC) at Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tipoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena • Iowa City, Iowa
TV: BTN.com, replay on Big Ten Network, Fri., Nov. 18 at 11 a.m.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM in DeKalb, WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet and WKRS 1220-AM in Waukegan
Live Stats: hawkeyesports.com

The Match-Up
Northern Illinois will face its second Big Ten foe of the season on Thursday night when it travels to Iowa. The Huskies are still seeking the first win of the Mark Montgomery era after dropping a 59-57 decision to UW-Milwaukee last time out. NIU trailed by 12 at the half before staging a second half comeback that came up just short.

About Iowa
The Hawkeyes are 2-0 early in the 2011-12 season after posting victories over Chicago State and North Carolina A&T. Fran McCaffery is in his second season as the head coach in Iowa City, McCaffery led the Hawkeyes to an 11-20 record a season ago, 4-14 in the Big Ten Conference. Matt Gatens and Eric May lead the way for Iowa, Gatens is averaging 17.0 points per game and is coming off a career-best 27 against North Carolina A&T, while May is averaging 16.0 points per game.

Against the Hawkeyes
This is the sixth all-time meeting between the Huskies and Hawkeyes, Iowa has won each of the previous five. Four of the previous five meetings have taken place in Iowa City, including the most recent meeting, a 65-57 Hawkeye win on Dec. 6, 2003. The lone meeting in DeKalb took place on Nov. 29, 1980, a 61-47 victory for the Hawkeyes.

NIU Against the Big Ten
Northern Illinois is 7-43 all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Huskies’ last win against a Big Ten team came on Dec. 14, 1999, when NIU won 55-51 at Wisconsin.

Montgomery Against Iowa
During his playing and coaching career at Michigan State, NIU head coach Mark Montgomery has faced off with Iowa 29 times, holding a 17-12 overall record against the Hawkeyes. Montgomery was 4-4 against Iowa as a player (1988-92) and 13-8 as a member of Tom Izzo’s staff at Michigan State (2001-11).

Monty at Carver-Hawkeye
NIU head coach Mark Montgomery will be making his 14th trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Montgomery is 5-8 in his previous 13 appearances in Iowa City. As a player at Michigan State, Montgomery and the Spartans went 2-2 on the road against the Hawkeyes. During his 10 seasons working under Tom Izzo, MSU had a 3-9 record at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Kids on the Floor
With a roster featuring eight freshmen, youth will definitely be served for the 2011-12 Huskies. Through the first two games of the season, just over 55 percent of the minutes played in the NIU lineup have been played by first year players.

Bolin Hits Career Bests
Aksel Bolin collected new career-highs in both rebounds and assists last time out against UW-Milwaukee (Nov. 14). Bolin grabbed nine rebounds and dished out four assists in the contest. The Asker, Norway native nearly recorded NIU’s first double-double of the year, finishing with nine points to go along with his nine rebounds.

Balance Throughout the Lineup
Last time out against UW-Milwaukee, 10 different Huskies scored and all 11 Huskies that saw playing time recorded at least one rebound.

Bench Production
After getting just eight points from the bench in the season opener at Purdue, the Huskie reserves came up with a strong effort against UW-Milwaukee, outscoring the Panther bench 25-4. Zach Miller led the way for the NIU bench with nine points, seven of which came after halftime as the Huskies nearly overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat UW-Milwaukee.  

Twin Peaks
Freshmen twins Keith and Kevin Gray were the high rebounders in NIU’s season opener against Purdue. Kevin Gray grabbed a game-high seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action while his brother Keith pulled down five rebounds in 16 minutes of play. No player for the Boilermakers grabbed more than five rebounds in the contest.

Looking Ahead
Northern Illinois will return home to the NIU Convocation Center on Sunday, Nov. 20, when the Huskies host Eastern Illinois at 1 p.m. The contest is a doubleheader with the NIU women who will host Temple at 3:30 p.m.