DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois seeks its first win of the season as the Huskies welcome the Lamar Cardinals to the NIU Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. tip-off.
NIU (0-6) is led offensively by freshman guard Darion Anderson who is pacing the Huskie attack with 10 points-per-game, followed by redshirt junior guard Jarvis Nichols (9.0 ppg.). The Huskies are coming off of a 74-50 defeat at the hands of Stephen F. Austin last Saturday. Senior forward Egan Grafel topped the Huskies with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
Lamar enters Saturday's contest with a record of 1-4. The Cardinals are led offensively by junior guard Kenny Dawkins, who is chipping in 14.8 points-per-game. Cardinal forwards Justin Nabors (8.0 rpg.) and Lamar Sanders (7.0 rpg.) are averaging 9.6 and 9.2 points-per-game respectively.
Lamar dropped a 76-65 decision at the hands of New Orleans on Wednesday night, despite 18 points from Dawkins and a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds from Nabors.
All-Time Series: Lamar holds a 4-2 lead in the all-time series over the Huskies.
The Last Time: Lamar forward Lamar Sanders posted a double-double of 21 points and 17 rebounds, as the host Cardinals cruised to the 74-53 over Northern Illinois at the Montagne Center on December 20, 2006 in Beaumont, Texas. Huskie senior Mike McKinney led NIU with 13 points, followed by 10 points apiece from senior James Hughes and junior Zach Pancratz.
Paradise Out: Senior guard Ryan Paradise fractured his nose against Stephen F. Austin. The Naperville, Ill., native underwent surgery earlier this week and will be out for an undetermined amount of time depending on the extent and findings of the procedure. Paradise is the Huskies' leading scorer at 10.7 points-per-game.
Second Half Success: Northern Illinois is averaging 36.3 points-per-game in the second half, compared to 29.2 points-per-game in the opening 20 minutes.
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.
Familiar Face: Northern Illinois Senior Associate Athletics Director and Lamar graduate (`92) Tim McMurray served both as Assistant A.D. for Development and Associate Media Relations Director for the Cardinals from 1992-2000.
Egan Can: Senior forward Egan Grafel has been the most consistent player on the court for the Huskies this season, as the Oberlin, Kansas native is averaging 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in six games. Grafel has scored 52 points this season, three more than he scored for his entire junior campaign.
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.
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.
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.
Foul Trouble: NIU has found itself in foul trouble over the first six games of the season, as opponents are averaging 28.8 charity shots and knocking down 17.3 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 45.4% (54-for-119) rate from beyond the three-point arc over the first five games.
Like Father, Like Son: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton is one of 13 coaches across America, who's son is playing for his squad. Michael Patton is a freshman point guard, who is averaging 5.2 points-per-game for the Huskies.
Finding The Right Combination: NIU has trotted out different starting line-ups over the last four 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.
Martial Artist: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Pounding The Boards: As of November 28, Northern Illinois leads the Mid-American Conference with 14.17 offensive rebounds-per-game.
Get That Out Of Here: Senior forward Egan Grafel posted a career-best and MAC season-high five blocks against Stephen F. Austin on November 24.
Up Next: NIU welcomes the Air Force Academy to the Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Tuesday, December 4.