DeKalb, Ill. - First year Northern Illinois men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton makes is regular-season home debut at the NIU Convocation Center as the Huskies host Stephen F. Austin for its 2007-08 home opener on Saturday evening for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
The Huskies (0-5), coming off a 75-65 defeat at the hands of Indiana State last Tuesday night, are looking for their first victory of the season. NIU guards Ryan Paradise (12.4 ppg.) and Darion Anderson (10.8 ppg.) lead the way for the Huskies.
Anderson is coming off a game and team-season high 23 point outing in the loss to the Sycamores. That 23-point performance by Anderson, was the most points scored by a NIU freshman since P.J. Smith tallied 26 points in an 88-80 loss to Akron on February 20, 2002.
Stephen F. Austin (3-1) earned a 71-68 triumph over Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday night. Josh Alexander and Matt Kingsley each scored 18 points in the victory, while Nick Shaw added a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. Kingsley is averaging a team-best 20.3 points-per-game, while Alexander is chipping in 13 points-per-contest.
All-Time Series: Stephen F. Austin holds a 1-0 lead over the Huskies in their all-time series.
The Last Time: Stephen F. Austin forward Josh Alexander knocked down seven three-pointers and the Lumberjacks converted 31-of-38 free throw attempts on their way to the 86-78 win over Northern Illinois on December 22, 2006 in Nacogdoches, Texas. NIU senior guard Mike McKinney led the Huskies with 19 points, while junior forward Shaun Logan notched his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Recruiting Class: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton announced his recruiting class on Thursday, November 15, inking guards Mike Dinunno (Chicago, Ill. / Von Steuben), Bryan Hall (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young) and forward Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill. / Geneseo) to play for the Huskies beginning in 2008.
Southland Success: With a victory over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, Northern Illinois will improve its record against the Southland Conference to .500 (6-6). NIU's last victory against a Southland Conference opponent came on December 29, 2004, as the Huskies earned the 73-67 win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi to claim the Flint Hills Islander Classic title.
Home Openers: Northern Illinois is 3-2 all-time in home openers at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies have won their last two home openers with victories over Aurora in 2005 (102-61) and St. Mary's (MN) in 2006 (84-69). NIU first year head coach Ricardo Patton is 10-1 in home openers with his lone loss, a 92-78 loss at the hands of St. Joseph's (PA) on November 26, 2000.
Southland Swing: The Huskies will face another Southland opponent to the NIU Convocation Center in their next contest as they host Lamar for a 1 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, December 1.
Yellin' For Yelder: Sophomore Cody Yelder is the Huskies' leading returning scorer in home contests, as the Calumet Park, Ill., native averaged 9.3 points-per-game in nine contests, while shooting 50.0% from three-point range as a freshman in 2006-07.
Non-Conference Slate: There is no easing into the Mid-American Conference schedule as the Huskies' non-conference opponents, led by 2007 `Sweet 16' participant Southern Illinois, averaged 19.6 wins during the `06-'07 campaign.
Clutch Shooting: Northern Illinois guards Cody Yelder (2-for-2) and Darion Anderson (4-for-4) are both perfect from the free throw line with under two minutes remaining in the contest.
Second Half Success: Northern Illinois is averaging 39.4 points-per-game in the second half, compared to 29.2 points-per-game in the opening 20 minutes. NIU senior guard Ryan Paradise leads the second half surge, scoring 9.2 points-per-game in the second half.
Three Point Streak: Senior guard Ryan Paradise has converted at least one three-pointer in his last seven gamesplayed, dating back to February 22, 2007 against Toledo.
Foul Trouble: NIU has found itself in foul trouble over the first four games of the season, as opponents are averaging 32.8 charity shots and knocking down 19.4 of their attempts per game against the Huskies. NIU has had eight people foul out this season, compared to 13 for the entire 2006-07 campaign.
They Call Me: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson also goes by the nickname "Jake".
Perimeter Defense: Teams are finding success against the Huskies from long range, as the opposition is connecting at a 46.2% (49-for-106) rate from beyond the three-point arc over the first five games.
Pounding The Glass: Northern Illinois has found success in their rebounding efforts over the last four games, as they are averaging 38.5 caroms-per-contest.
Finding The Right Combination: NIU has trotted out different starting line-ups over the last three contests.
Lost Long Range: Senior Zach Pancratz will sit out the 2007-08 season after undergoing left shoulder surgery to correct continued instability in his non-shooting arm. Last season, Pancratz led NIU with 51 trifectas.
Piece of the Boulder: Sophomore center Sean Kowal made the trip to DeKalb along with head coach Ricardo Patton after appearing in 27 games for Colorado as a rookie last season. Kowal must sit for the 2007-08 season, as per NCAA Transfer Guidelines.
The Butler Did It: Assistant Coach John Anderson's son, Jerametrius Butler, is a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills. Butler recorded his first career collegiate interception for Kansas State against Northern Illinois.
Martial Artist: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.