DeKalb, Ill. - The Northern Illinois men's basketball team continues its run through the Horizon League, as the Huskies travel to Wisconsin on Saturday (December 22) to square off with the Green Bay Phoenix in a rematch of last year's ESPNU BracketBusters contest at the Resch Center (2 p.m.).
The Huskies (2-8) are coming off of a heartbreaking 76-72 overtime loss at the hands of Loyola at the Gentile Center last Saturday (December 15). Junior guard Jarvis Nichols leads the offensive attack for NIU, as he is scoring 10 points-per-game, while freshman guard Darion Anderson is chipping in 8.4 tallies.
Green Bay (6-4) was unable to overcome 20 turnovers as the Phoenix fell victim to Wisconsin, as the host Badgers earned the 70-52 non-conference triumph at the Kohl Center on Saturday. Phoenix junior forward Mike Schachtner is averaging a team-best 19 points-per-game, while freshman guard Rahmon Fletcher is adding 11.2 points-per-game.
All-Time Series: Green Bay holds a 23-5 lead over the Huskies in the all-time series.
The Last Time: Despite a career-high 22 points and five three-pointers from junior forward Zach Pancratz, Northern Illinois was unable to overcome a 25-for-29 performance from Green Bay at the free throw line as the Phoenix earned the 82-76 triumph over the Huskies on February 17, 2007. UWGB forward Mike Schachtner led four players in double-figures with a game-high 25 points.
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.
Familiar Face: NIU assistant coach Sundance Wicks and Green Bay Director of Basketball Operations Logan Flora both were assistant coaches at Division II Northern State (S.D.) during the 2005-06 campaign.
Familiar Face (Part Deux): Both NIU and Green Bay were members of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from 1994-97.
Clutch Shooting: Northern Illinois guard Jarvis Nichols (4-for-4) is 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 22 free throw attempts, dating back to NIU's contest against Cal Poly on November 11.
Logan's Run: NIU senior forward Shaun Logan has knocked down at least one trey in the last six games. During that span, Logan is shooting 47.1% (8-for-17) from beyond the arc.
Sixth Man: NIU junior guard Jarvis Nichols is tops in the Mid-American Conference in scoring off the bench, as the Huskies' sixth man is chipping in 10 points-per-game. Nichols is the only player among the league leaders in scoring that has started less than one-third of his team's games.
Bench Play: The Northern Illinois bench, led by guards Jarvis Nichols (15 points) and Darion Anderson (13 points), outscored the Huskie starters, 38-28 against Loyola on Saturday, December 15, marking the fourth time that the NIU reserves have accomplished that feat this season (UMass, Southern Illinois, Air Force). The last time the Huskie bench did that four times in a season was during the 1989-90 campaign.
Common Opponents: Both NIU and Green Bay share a pair of common opponents this season as they have each played Massachusetts and Loyola. The Huskies dropped each of their contests against the Minutemen (102-87, 11/10/07) and Ramblers (76-72 (OT), 12/15/07), while the Phoenix split with a win over Loyola (69-63, 12/6/07) and a loss to UMass (93-78, 11/17/07).
Calling All Alumni: NIU will hold its 8th Annual Alumni Day on February 2, prior to the Huskies' 2 p.m. showdown against Ohio. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the Alumni game held at 11 a.m. at the NIU Convocation Center. For more information, contact NIU Director of Marketing Cindy Green at (815) 753-0369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Block Party: NIU, led by four blocks from senior forward Egan Grafel, recorded a season-high nine swats against Loyola on December 15. That marked the most blocks by a Huskie team since the 2003-04 campaign when NIU, led by six swats from all-time blocks leader James Hughes, notched 10 blocks against Miami (OH) on February 24, 2004.
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.
Lost Long Range: Senior Zach Pancratz is sitting 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 returns home for their final non-conference tune-up, as the Huskies welcome Arkansas-Little Rock to the Convocation Center for a 12 p.m. showdown on Saturday, December 29.