NIU Men's Basketball Prepares For Dec. 19-22 Surf N' Slam Invitational

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES

December 15, 2003

NIU Men's Basketball Prepares For Dec. 19-22 Surf N' Slam Invitational

DeKalb, IL -Blue skies, temperatures in the 80s and ocean as far as the eye can see. Yes it's time for Northern Illinois' trip to beautiful Hawaii for the Surf N' Slam Invitational on Dec. 19-22 in Laie, HI.

Following its Dec. 15 contest with Cornell College, the Northern Illinois men's basketball team will depart Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Wednesday (Dec. 17) at 8:55 a.m. for Honolulu, HI, and mark the programs first trip outside the contiguous 48 states for an intercollegiate basketball game. Following a nine-hour flight to the Islands, the Huskies will land in Honolulu at 2:01 p.m. (Hawaii Time) and head to their hotel on Waikiki Beach.

While there is a four-hour time difference between DeKalb, IL, and Hawaii, the Huskies will have a chance to get acclimated quickly, as their first practice will be held later that night at 7:20 p.m. (11:20 p.m. CST).

On Thursday (Dec. 18) the Huskies will have a two hour practice in the afternoon (dinner time if you are scoring at home) before heading back to the hotel to enjoy a Hawaiian luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. In addition to trying authentic Hawaiian cuisine, hula dancers and fire-eaters will entertain the team during their meal.

The Huskies get down to business on Friday (Dec. 19) as they participate in the first of three games over the weekend. NIU will take on Western Athletic Conference member San Jose State University at 10 p.m. (CST) in Laie, HI, on the campus of Brigham Young-Hawaii University. As always, each NIU men's basketball contest can be heard on the Huskie Sports Radio Network including: WLBK-AM 1360 - DeKalb; WBIG-AM 1280 - Chicagoland; WRHL-AM 1060 - Rochelle; WSEY-FM 95.7 - Rockford, Freeport; WMKB-FM 102.9 - LaSalle-Peru.

The Spartans are 3-3 on the season and are coming off an 85-77 win over Cal State Sacramento on Dec. 13. In fact the Spartans have won two straight games as they prepare to face their first opponent from outside of the state of California.

It will be a quick turnaround for the Huskies as they face tournament host BYU-Hawaii on Saturday (Dec. 20). Technically, the game will tip off on Sunday at 12:30 a.m. in DeKalb, IL, as NIU faces the Seasiders, who are 6-2 on the season and have won five consecutive contests. One of the more successful Division II programs, the Seasiders have already faced a Division I foe this season, falling 84-53 at Colorado State on Nov. 22.

The Huskies won't compete on Sunday (Dec. 21), instead it will be a day of reflection as the team will travel to Pearl Harbor in the morning and take a boat ride to view the USS Arizona memorial. The team will also walk through the Pearl Harbor museum and pay their respects to the 2,388 United States Armed Forces members and civilians that lost their lives on December 7, 1941.

The tournament will conclude on Monday (Dec. 22) as the Huskies face Baylor University of the Big 12 Conference. The most fan-friendly time for Huskie fans back in DeKalb, IL, game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CST) and can again be heard on the Huskie Sports Radio Network.

Currently the Baylor Bears are 3-4 on the year, but are coming off a 53-45 home loss to Texas-San Antonio. The Bears are led by Terrance Thomas, a 6-foot-6, 230 pound forward, who is averaging 19.6 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. That scoring total ranks second in the Big 12, while his rebounding average ranks fourth.

NIU will return to the Mainland later that night as they are scheduled to depart on a 10:55 p.m. flight (Hawaii Time) out of Honolulu. After a brief layover in Los Angeles, the Huskies are scheduled to arrive in Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 12:56 p.m. (CST).

Copy by Dave Reiter