DeKalb, Ill. - Northern Illinois and first-year head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton make their first trip through the Windy City on Saturday (December 15) night, as the Huskies gear up for a 7 p.m. showdown against Loyola University Chicago at the Joseph J. Gentile Center.
The Huskies (2-7) try to respond after their 108-62 defeat at the hands of Notre Dame last Saturday (December 8). Sixth man Jarvis Nichols leads the charge for the Huskies, averaging 9.4 points-per-game, while senior forward Egan Grafel is adding 8.2 points and 5.9 boards-per-contest.
Loyola (3-5) is coming off of an exciting 73-68 overtime victory over Milwaukee last Saturday. Rambler junior forward Leon Young (11.4 ppg., 7.1 rpg) posted a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, while guards J.R. Blount (17.8 ppg.) and Tracy Robinson (10.8 ppg.) added 20 and 18 points respectively.
All-Time Series: Northern Illinois holds a 16-14 lead over the Ramblers in the all-time series.
The Last Time: Loyola guard DaJuan Gouard led three Rambler players in double-figures with a game-high 15 points as Loyola earned the 63-56 triumph over Northern Illinois on November 20, 2004 in the debut of first-year head coach Jim Whitesell. Huskie sophomore guard Mike McKinney led NIU with 13 points.
Patton vs. Loyola: NIU head coach Ricardo Patton is 1-0 all-time against Loyola as Colorado earned the 76-72 victory over the Ramblers at the Pepsi Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 29, 2002.
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 indefinitely.
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 5.4 points-per-game.
Tough Crowd: Loyola is the fifth team that Northern Illinois has faced this season, and the third in as many games, that totaled at least 20 wins in 2006-07, joining Southern Illinois, Massachusetts, Air Force and Notre Dame.
Clutch Shooting: Northern Illinois guards Darion Anderson (6-for-6) and Jarvis Nichols (4-for-4) are each perfect 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 21 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 (12/4/07). 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 three 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.
Huskies In The Windy City: Since the 2000-01 campaign, Northern Illinois is 1-6 when playing in Chicago. Their lone victory was a 84-69 win over DePaul on November 27, 2004 at the Allstate Arena.
Logan's Run: NIU senior forward Shaun Logan, who converted 16 three-pointers in 2006-07, has knocked down at least one trey in the last five games. During that span, Logan is shooting 46.7% (7-for-15) from beyond the arc. For the season, Logan is tied for the team lead in three-point shooting, knocking down 40.0% (8-for-20) of his attempts.
Familiar Foe: From 1994 to 1997, NIU was a member of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference - now Horizon League - along with Loyola.
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 December 4. 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.
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.
Time Change: Tip-off for Northern Illinois' contest against Akron on February 12 has been changed from 6 p.m. (CST) to 7 p.m. (CST) as the game is now a part of the Mid-American Conference television schedule.
Up Next: NIU concludes its three-game road swing with a 2 p.m. showdown with Green Bay on December 22.