Huskies Conclude Homestand Tuesday Against UIC

GO HUSKIES Aksel Bolin is NIU's leading rebounder and second leading scorer
Aksel Bolin is NIU's leading rebounder and second leading scorer

Nov. 26, 2012

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Northern Illinois Huskies (1-3, 0-0 MAC) vs. UIC Flames (4-1, 0-0 Horizon)
Date / Time: Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 / 7 p.m. CT
Site: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet, Ill. • Huskie All-Access
Live Video: Huskie All-Access
Live Stats:
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: UIC leads 22-15
Last meeting: Dec. 10, 2011 • UIC 62-55

The first 500 NIU students in attendance at Tuesday’s basketball game against UIC will receive a FREE $10 gift card from

Akeem Springs leads the Huskies in scoring averaging 12.0 points per game. Springs has scored in double figures in each of the last two contests.
Aksel Bolin is the leading rebounder for NIU; Bolin is pulling down 6.0 boards per contest.
Travon Baker leads the Huskies in both assists (9) and steals (11).
Sam Mader is shooting a team-best 54.5 percent from the field.
• Freshmen have played 63.6 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 19.3 percent of the minutes.
• Northern Illinois returns its top-five scoring letterwinners and top-six rebounders from a season ago.
• 10 of the 15 players making up the Huskie roster this season are underclassmen.
• Of the five upperclassmen on NIU’s roster, one will sit out this season following a transfer (Pete Rakosevic) and another had never played a Division I game until this season (Brandon Hayes).
• NIU made its first appearance in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, playing Valparaiso at 7 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 13. The Huskies were one of two MAC schools, along with Kent State, that will appear in the marathon.
• The Huskies will play 10 teams that appeared in postseason play a season ago: Valpo (Horizon League regular season champs, NIT), Dayton (NIT), Milwaukee (CBI), Washington (Pac-12 regular season champs, NIT Final Four), UMass (NIT Final Four), Akron (MAC regular season champs, NIT), Bowling Green (CIT), Buffalo (CIT), Kent State (CIT) and Ohio (NCAA Sweet 16).

Akeem Springs is averaging 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over the last two games.
• After grabbing just one rebound in the season opener, Aksel Bolin is averaging 7.7 rebounds per game over the last three games.
Daveon Balls dished out a season-best four assists with no turnovers last time out against Loyola (Nov. 24). Balls currently has a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Mike Davis has recorded a steal in each of the last three games and a block in each of the last two.

• Developed by, “The Experience Tracker” looks at the experience per minute played by every team in the country.
• Each team’s number is generated by taking the sum of minutes each player plays, multiplied by their class (1-freshmen, 2-sophomores, 3-juniors, 4-seniors) divided by the total of team minutes.
• Northern Illinois is currently the third-least experienced team in the country (1.55), behind only Arkansas-Little Rock (1.25) and Texas (1.40).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation’s least experienced teams.

• Northern Illinois leads the MAC in offensive rebounds (14.5) and defensive rebounding percentage (82.2 percent)
• The Huskies are second in the MAC in both rebounding defense (29.0) and rebounding margin (+6.2)
• NIU ranks third in the MAC in steals per game (9.8)
• The Huskies are fourth in the MAC in turnover margin (+3.3)
Travon Baker is currently second in the conference in steals per game, tied with Chris Bond of Ball State, fractions of a steal behind Ohio’s D.J. Cooper
Sam Mader ranks fifth in the league (54.5 percent) and Aksel Bolin ranks sixth (54.2 percent) in field goal percentage
Aksel Bolin ranks 10th in the MAC in rebounding (6.0)
Daveon Balls is currently 11th in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (44.4 percent) and 14th in assists per game (2.7)
Akeem Springs is tied for 15th in the MAC in scoring at 12.0 points per contest.

• NIU’s Travon Baker is currently tied for third in the nation in steals by a freshman with 2.75 steals per game; Baker is tied with Northwestern State’s Jalan West.
• Coppin State’s Patrick Cole and Texas Tech’s Josh Gray (3.0) currently lead the nation in steals among freshmen
• Baker is tied for second in the MAC in steal with Chris Bond of Ball State (2.75), just behind Ohio’s D.J. Cooper (2.8).
• Baker is currently tied for 28th overall nationally; Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster leads the nation with 4.2 steals per contest.
• As a team, the Huskies are 39th in the nation in steals per game (9.8); Syracuse leads the country at 14.3 per contest.

• With its six-man returning nucleus from a season ago, the Huskies return more than 60 percent of their production for 2011-12 in most statistical categories.
• The following are NIU’s percentages returning from last season: minutes (60.7 percent), scoring (62.6), rebounds (63.1), assists (47.0), blocks (71.2) and steals (57.1).
• By comparison, here are the numbers that returned at the beginning of last season from the 2010-11 campaign: minutes (33.8 percent), scoring (32.0), rebounds (31.8), assists (26.6), blocks (39.7) and steals (27.4).

• The Flames bring a 4-1 record to DeKalb; UIC defeated Southeast Missouri State, 56-45, last time out (Nov. 24).
• UIC’s lone loss came to New Mexico in the first round of the Paradise Jam. The Flames rebounded to take fifth-place in the tournament with wins over Mercer and Iona.
• Gary Talton leads UIC averaging 13.8 points per game; Talton also has 23 assists in five contests.
• Howard Moore is in his third season as head coach at UIC; Moore joined the Flames after five seasons as an assistant at Wisconsin.

• UIC leads the all-time series against NIU, 22-15.
• Tuesday’s meeting will mark the fourth consecutive season the Huskies and Flames have met on the hardwood. The home team has won each of the last three.
• UIC has won 10 of the last 13 meetings overall in the series, dating back to March 1, 1997.
• NIU won the last meeting in DeKalb, 80-78, on Dec. 14, 2010. Xavier Silas scored a NIU Convocation Center record 40 points to lead NIU to the victory.
• UIC’s last victory in DeKalb came on Dec. 5, 2006, a 71-48 victory.

• UIC earned a 62-55 home victory over the Huskies on Dec. 10, 2011.
• NIU trailed by just one, 50-49, with two minutes to play in the contest.
Antone Christian and Keith Gray each scored 11 points to lead the Huskies.
• Jerome Brown scored a game-high 15 points to pace the Flames.

• NIU is 92-100 all-time against current members of the Horizon League.
• Tuesday’s meeting with UIC will be the 38th all-time between the Huskies and Flames. UIC is NIU’s most common Horizon League foe.
• The Flames will be the third of four Horizon League foes NIU will face this season. NIU has already faced Valparaiso and Loyola Chicago, a trip to UW Milwaukee is coming up on Dec. 7.

• NIU dropped a 53-46 decision to the Ramblers on Nov. 24 at the NIU Convocation Center.
• The Huskies held Loyola to just 16 first half points, NIU didn’t allow a point in the final eight minutes of the half.
Akeem Springs led NIU in scoring for the second-straight game, Springs finished with 15 points while also grabbing a career-high six rebounds.
• NIU changed its starting lineup for the first time this season, inserting Daveon Balls for Travon Baker.
Daveon Balls dished out a career-best four assists with no turnovers in his first career start.
Tony Nixon saw his first action of the season against Loyola, playing 10 minutes off the bench.
• The Huskies were outrebounded for the first time this season, losing the battle on the boards, 34-31.
Darrell Bowie scored a career-high five points.

• NIU recorded its first victory of the year with a 72-54 win over Judson University.
Akeem Springs and Sam Mader each had a career-high 16 points to lead the Huskies to the win.
Kevin Gray was the third Huskie in double figures with 10 points, Gray also had a team-best eight rebounds.
Aksel Bolin tied a career-high with four assists against the Eagles.
Travon Baker recorded four steals and three assists in the victory.
• The Huskies made 30 field goals in the contest, the most for NIU under Mark Montgomery.
• Judson grabbed just 19 rebounds, including just one offensive, the lowest for an opponent during Montgomery’s tenure at NIU.

• Northern Illinois did not win a game last season in which the Huskies allowed more than 69 points.
• The Huskies were 3-4 in games decided by five points or less last season.
• NIU did not play an overtime game last season. Its last overtime contest came on Feb. 26, 2011, a 75-70 victory at Toledo.
• The Huskies shot a better field goal percentage than their opponents in four of their five victories last season. NIU also had a better 3-point shooting percentage than its opponents in all five victories a year ago.
• NIU outrebounded its opponents 18 times last season, including in four of its five wins.

• NIU was picked to finish fifth in the MAC West in the preseason conference media poll. Toledo was picked to win the MAC West, followed by Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Ball State, NIU and Central Michigan.
• The MAC East was picked to finish as follows: Ohio, Akron, Kent State, Buffalo, Bowling Green and Miami. Ohio was also picked as the favorite to win the MAC Tournament.
Abdel Nader was one of five played named to the West Division Preseason All-MAC Team. Joining Nader are Ball State’s Jesse Berry, Toledo’s Rian Pearson and Julius Brown and Western Michigan’s Nate Hutcheson.



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