Huskies Host Southern Illinois on Saturday

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Dec. 16, 2011

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Northern Illinois Huskies (0-9, 0-0 MAC) vs. Southern Illinois Salukis (1-5, 0-0 MVC)

Date: Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tipoff: 1 p.m. CT
Location: NIU Convocation Center • DeKalb, Ill.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM in DeKalb and WSCR 670-AM in Chicago.
Live Stats: NIUHuskies.com

The Match-Up
NIU continues its five-game home stand on Saturday, Dec. 17, as the Huskies host Southern Illinois at the NIU Convocation Center. The two in-state foes are meeting for the second consecutive year and the 82nd time in the history of the series. Last year, SIU won a 61-49 decision in Carbondale (Dec. 22, 2010), NIU is looking for its first win over the Salukis since 1982.

About Southern Illinois
The Salukis bring a 1-5 record to DeKalb, last time out SIU fell at Western Michigan, 54-43, on Dec. 11. Mamadou Seck is the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Illinois averaging 15.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. Chris Lowery is in his eighth season as the head coach at SIU and brings a 138-98 record into Saturday’s contest. Lowery led the Salukis to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first three seasons.

Against the Salukis
Northern Illinois trails Southern Illinois, 60-21, in the all-time series. The Salukis has won 11-straight over the Huskies, with the last NIU victory coming on Nov. 27, 1982, a 62-61 triumph in Rockford. SIU has won the last five meetings held in DeKalb, with the last Huskie victory coming on Dec. 10, 1979, 78-63. Southern Illinois leads the all-time series, 23-13, in meetings held at NIU.

Getting Defensive
In five of their last six games, NIU has held its opponent below it season scoring average, the lone exception being Nebraska Omaha who scored just two points more than its season average. Saturday’s opponent, Southern Illinois, is averaging 55.5 points per game.

Valuing the Basketball
The Huskies have taken much better care of the basketball over the last four games. NIU averaged over 21 turnovers per game in the first five games but have turned it over just 11.5 times per game in the last four games. (11.5 per game for the season would rank in the top-20 nationally).

Toler Collects Third Double-Double
Senior forward Tim Toler posted the third double-double of his career last time out against DePaul. Toler scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds against the Blue Demons. Toler is currently 18th in the MAC in scoring at 11.6 points per game and tied for 15th in rebounding at 6.0 boards per contest. Through four home games this season, Toler is averaging 15.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

Judged Against Their Peers
The NIU freshmen stack up quite well against their fellow freshmen in the MAC. Three of the top-five freshmen rebounders in the conference are Huskies: Kevin Gray (2nd), Keith Gray (3rd) and Abdel Nader (4th). In addition, Nader is third in scoring among conference rookies and Marquavese Ford is seventh in scoring. Ford is also third in assists among MAC freshmen while Zach Miller is fourth in the league in assists from the freshmen class.

Looking Ahead
NIU will play its final game of the 2011 calendar year on Tuesday, Dec. 20, when the Huskies host Valparaiso at the NIU Convocation Center. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.