Huskies Begin Road Trip at UW Milwaukee

GO HUSKIES Travon Baker is averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists over the last two games.
GO HUSKIES
Travon Baker is averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists over the last two games.
GO HUSKIES

Dec. 6, 2012

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Northern Illinois Huskies (2-5, 0-0 MAC) at UW Milwaukee Panthers (2-6, 0-0 Horizon)
Date / Time: Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 / 7 p.m. CT
Site: Klotsche Center • Milwaukee, Wis.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. • Huskie All-Access
Live Video: Horizon League Network at HorizonLeague.org
Live Stats: UWMPanthers.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: NIU leads 17-9
Last meeting: Nov. 14, 2011 • UWM 59-57

WHAT’S TRENDING
• The two-day turnaround from SIU Edwardsville to UW Milwaukee is the shortest turnaround of the season for the Huskies.
• The Huskies are shooting 54.2 percent (39-of-72) in the last three halves of action (second half vs. Dayton and game against SIU Edwardsville).
• NIU has forced 18 turnovers in each of its last two games.
Aksel Bolin is coming off a career-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting against SIU Edwardsville.  
Travon Baker is averaging 13.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists over the last two games.
Sam Mader has at least one block in three-straight games; Mader leads NIU with eight blocked shots.
Akeem Springs has at least one 3-point field goal in all seven games this season.
Sam Mader is shooting 64.0 percent (16-of-25) from the field in home games.
Aksel Bolin has two-or-more steals in four of the last five games.  
Antone Christian has missed the last five games due to a foot injury.

A LOOK AT THE 2012-13 SEASON
• Freshmen have played 65.1 percent of the minutes this season for NIU; sophomores have added another 17.7 percent of the minutes.
Travon Baker leads the Huskies with 18 steals; Baker is tied for fourth in the nation in steals among freshmen (2.57 per game).
• Two Huskies, Sam Mader (53.7) and Aksel Bolin (52.3), are shooting over 50 percent from the field.
• Northern Illinois is outrebounding its opponents by an average of 4.4 boards per contest.
• 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 Rakocevic) 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).

THE EXPERIENCE TRACKER
• Developed by StatSheet.com, “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 (1.28) and Texas (1.40).
• See page five for a complete chart of the nation’s least experienced teams.

BAKER AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS IN STEALS
• NIU’s Travon Baker is currently tied for fourth in the nation in steals among freshmen with 2.57 steals per game.
• Texas Tech’s Josh Gray is the nation’s freshman steals leader (3.0).
• Baker also leads the MAC in steals per game; Miami’s Quinten Rollins is second at 2.3 per contest.
• Baker is currently tied for 27th overall nationally; LSU’s Anthony Hickey leads the country at 4.4 steals per contest.

WHAT’S BACK FOR NIU
• 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).

ABOUT UW MILWAUKEE
• The Panthers will be playing a MAC foe for the second-straight game, UW Milwaukee fell to Buffalo, 72-52, at home on Wednesday to fall to 2-6 on the season.
• Paris Gulley leads UW Milwaukee in scoring averaging 20.0 points per game; Jordan Aaron also scores in double figures at 16.9 points per contest.  
• UW Milwaukee was picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League Preseason Poll.
• The Panthers are playing on-campus at the Klotsche Center this season after playing at U.S. Cellular Arena, off-campus, since 2003.

ALL-TIME SERIES
• Northern Illinois leads the all-time series against UW Milwaukee, 17-9.  
• The Huskies and Panthers met for the first time since 1997 last season, a 59-57 Milwaukee victory in DeKalb (Nov. 14, 2011).
• NIU will be making its first trip to UW Milwaukee since Feb. 3, 1997, a 64-59 Milwaukee victory.  
• The Panthers have won the last two meetings by a combined seven points. The Huskies won seven-straight in the series prior to the last two meetings.  
• NIU’s last win in Milwaukee came on Feb. 15, 1996, a 100-90 double overtime victory.
• The Panthers lead the all-time series in Milwaukee, 7-5.  

THE LAST MEETING
• UW Milwaukee escaped with a 59-57 victory in NIU’s home opener last season (Nov. 14, 2011). The Panthers led by 12 at halftime before NIU’s second half rally.
Aksel Bolin finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four assists last season against the Panthers.
• UW Milwaukee had four players in double figures, led by 15 points and 12 rebounds from James Haarsma.

AGAINST THE HORIZON LEAGUE
• NIU will be playing its fourth, and final, game against the Horizon League. The Huskies have dropped games at Valparaiso and at home to Loyola-Chicago and UIC.
• The Huskies are 92-101 all-time against current members of the Horizon League.  

SIU EDWARDSVILLE RECAP
• Northern Illinois earned a 65-54 victory over SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday night.
Aksel Bolin scored a career-high 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
• NIU had three players in double figures for the second time this season -- Aksel Bolin 15, Sam Mader 11, Travon Baker 10.
• The Huskies shot a season-best 52.0 percent (26-of-50) against the Cougars.
Sam Mader dished out a career-high four assists and scored in double figures for the third time.
Travon Baker finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
• A crowd of 2,750 was in attendance for the game and Orange Bowl Pep Rally, the largest crowd for a men’s basketball game since the 2010-11 season opener against Northwestern (4,001).
• The NIU bench outscored SIUE’s bench, 20-0.

DAYTON RECAP
• NIU fell at Dayton, 60-43, in front of a crowd of 12,637, the largest of the season for the Huskies.
Travon Baker scored a career-high 17 points, 14 of which came in the second half. Baker was 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. He also added four rebounds, four steals and two assists.
• Baker became the fourth different player to lead NIU in scoring this season.
• NIU attempted just 10 3-point field goals against Dayton, the fewest during Mark Montgomery’s tenure at NIU.
• Dayton’s 18 turnovers tied for the most by a Huskie opponent during the Mark Montgomery era.
Sam Mader made the first start of his collegiate career, becoming the fourth NIU freshman to start a game this season.  Mader finished with three blocks, tying a career-high.
Aksel Bolin made the 30-straight start of his career.

OF NOTE…
• 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.

THE PRESEASON PICKS
• 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.