DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team seeks its third consecutive victory on Saturday night, as the Huskies travel to South Bend, Indiana to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a 6 p.m. (CST) tip-off at the Joyce Center.
The Huskies (2-6) are coming off of a 63-52 non-conference victory over 2007 NIT semifinalist Air Force on Tuesday (December 4) night. NIU junior guard Jarvis Nichols came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points, while freshman guard Jeremy Landers tied a season-high with 14 tallies.
The Fighting Irish (6-2) picked up a 68-59 victory over Kansas State at the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York on Tuesday night. ND sophomore forward Luke Harangody collected a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds, while junior guard Kyle McAlarney added 18 in the win.
Harangody leads the Fighting Irish in both scoring (17.5 ppg.) and rebounding (8.9 rpg.). McAlarney is chipping in 14.6 points-per-game, followed by 12.9 points from senior forward Rob Kurz.
All-Time Series: Notre Dame holds a 2-1 advantage over the Huskies in their all-time series.
The Last Time: Notre Dame forward Torin Francis led three Fighting Irish players in double-figures with a game-high 24 points to lead ND to the 74-65 victory over Northern Illinois on November 24, 2003. NIU senior forward Marcus Smallwood collected a double-double of 21 points and 18 rebounds for the Huskies.
NIU vs. Big East: Northern Illinois is 2-3 all time against Big East opponents. Their last win over a Big East opponent was a 77-68 triumph over DePaul at the NIU Convocation Center on November 28, 2005.
Paradise Out: Senior guard Ryan Paradise fractured his nose against Stephen F. Austin on November 24. The Naperville, Ill., native underwent surgery on Friday, November 30, and will be out for an undetermined amount of time.
Like Father, Like Son: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton is one of 13 coaches across America, whose son is playing for his squad. Michael Patton is a freshman point guard for the Huskies, who is averaging 4.7 points-per-game.
Tough Crowd: Notre Dame is the fourth team that Northern Illinois has faced this season, and the second in as many games, that totaled at least 20 wins in 2006-07, joining Southern Illinois, Massachusetts and Air Force.
Clutch Shooting: Northern Illinois guards Darion Anderson and Jarvis Nichols are each a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line with under two minutes remaining in the contest.
Toeing The Line: Junior guard Jarvis Nichols has knocked down his last 20 free throw attempts, dating back to NIU's contest against Cal Poly, following his 10-for-10 performance from the charity stripe against Air Force. The last time a Huskie player went 10-for-10 from the free throw line was on March 9, 2006 when senior forward Todd Peterson converted all 10 of his free throw attempts against Toledo in the MAC Tournament.
Freshman Trio: NIU has sent out a starting line-up of three freshmen guards over the past two games that includes 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.
They Call Me: NIU freshman guard Darion Anderson also goes by the nickname "Jake".
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.
Field Goal Efficiency: NIU attempted just 39 field goal attempts in the Huskies' 63-52 win against Air Force on Tuesday night. That marked the fewest field goal attempts in a NIU victory since November 15, 2002, when the Huskies needed just 38 shots to defeat Winthrop 56-50 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Runnin' Red: Over the past three contests, freshman guard Jeremy `Red' Landers is shooting a blistering 71.4% (10-for-14) from field goal range and leads the Huskies with 11 points-per-game.
Defensive Clamps: NIU currently has a streak of three consecutive halves of holding their opponents under 30 points, which is the first time that's happened since the 2005-06 campaign against both Wright State (12/13/05) and UIC (12/17/05). The last time the Huskies accomplished that feat in four consecutive halves was during the 1999-2000 season when they did it five straight stanzas against Wisconsin (12/14/99), Buffalo (12/18/99) and Wright State (12/21/99).
Been Caught Stealing: NIU freshman guard Jeremy Landers proved to be quite the thief against Lamar on December 1, 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.
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 eight games this season, six different players have led the Huskies in scoring.
Up Next: NIU continues its three-game road stretch through Chicago, as the Huskies will face Loyola at the Gentile Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Dec. 15.