DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team looks to make it two victories in a row as the Huskies welcome the Air Force Academy to the NIU Convocation Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Tuesday (Dec. 4) night.
NIU (1-6) is coming off of a thrilling 65-63 non-conference victory over Lamar on Saturday afternoon, following senior forward Egan Grafel's tip-in at the buzzer, giving the Huskies their first win of the season.
Air Force is yet another tough non-conference opponent that NIU head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton has put on the 2007-08 schedule for the Huskies, as the Falcons won 26 games last season on their way to a berth in the National Invitational Tournament semifinals.
The Falcons (5-3) look to be as good this season as sixth man Andrew Henke leads the squad with 14.5 points-per-game, followed by 12 points-per-game from senior guard Tim Anderson.
All-Time Series: Northern Illinois holds a 2-1 advantage over the Falcons in their all-time series.
The Last Time: NIU senior Jamal Robinson led four players in double-figures with 14 points, as the Huskies earned the 70-63 victory over Air Force on December 22, 1995 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Colorado Connections: Former Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik is now the head coach at Colorado, where Huskie head coach Ricardo Patton served for 11-plus seasons. Coincidentally, Air Force is coming off of a 60-50 loss at the hands of the Buffaloes on Thursday night. Henke led the Falcons with a team-best 18 points, followed by 11 points from freshman guard Evan Washington.
Patton Vs. Air Force: Patton is 0-1 lifetime against Air Force, as the Falcons earned the 84-46 win over Colorado on November 18, 2006.
Paradise Out: Senior guard Ryan Paradise fractured his nose against Stephen F. Austin. The Naperville, Ill., native underwent surgery last week and will be out for an undetermined amount of time depending on the extent and findings of the procedure.
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 for the Huskies, who is averaging 4.7 points-per-game.
All Hands On Deck: Tonight's contest marks just the second time that a service academy has ever made the trip to DeKalb. NIU earned the 70-49 victory over Air Force on December 21, 1994 at the Chick Evans Fieldhouse.
Tough Crowd: Air Force is the third team that Northern Illinois has faced this season that totaled at least 20 wins in 2006-07, joining both Southern Illinois and Massachusetts.
Clutch Shooting: Northern Illinois guard Darion Anderson is a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line with under two minutes remaining in the contest.
Recruiting Class: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton has inked four student-athletes to National Letters of Intent, including guards Mike Dinunno (Chicago, Ill. / Von Steuben), Bryan Hall (Chicago, Ill. / Whitney Young), Dominique Johnson (Detroit, Mich. / Southwest Tennessee C.C.) and forward Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill. / Geneseo) to play for the Huskies in 2008.
Finding The Right Combination: NIU has trotted out different starting line-ups over the last five contests.
They Call Me: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson also goes by the nickname "Jake".
Freshman Trio: NIU sent out a starting line-up of three freshmen guards against Lamar on Saturday (Dec. 1), including Darion Anderson, Jeremy Landers and Michael Patton. The last time NIU had three freshmen in their starting line-up was on January 30, 1988 in a 93-88 loss to Central Connecticut. Those three rookies were forwards Brian Banks and Donnell Thomas and guard Jo Jo Jackson.
Been Caught Stealing: NIU freshman guard Jeremy Landers proved to be quite the thief against Lamar, as the Milwaukee, Wis., native collected five steals in his first career start. Those five swipes were the most by an NIU player since Jay Bates had six steals against Eastern Michigan on February 15, 2003.
Jeremy's Jumpers: With his 5-for-5 shooting performance against Lamar, Huskie freshman guard Jeremy Landers has connected on his last six field goal attempts.
Pounding The Boards: As of December 3, Northern Illinois leads the Mid-American Conference with 14 offensive rebounds-per-game. The Huskies have out-rebounded their opponents on the offensive glass in five out of seven contests.
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.
Logan's Run: Senior forward Shaun Logan posted a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. The last time a Huskie player recorded back-to-back double-doubles came during the 2004-05 campaign by sophomore Mike McKinney against both Eastern Michigan (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Wright State (11 points, 11 rebounds).
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.
Spreading The Wealth: In just seven games this season, six different players have led the Huskies in scoring.
Up Next: NIU begins a three-game road trip and heads to South Bend, Indiana to square off with Notre Dame for a 6 p.m. (CST) tip-off on Saturday, December 8.