Dec. 21, 2013
Game Notes in PDF
Northern Illinois Huskies (4-5, 0-0 MAC) at UC Riverside Highlanders (4-6, 0-0 Big West)
Date / Time: Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 / 4 p.m. CT (2 p.m. PT)
Site: SRC Arena Riverside, Calif.
Radio: WLBK 1360-AM, 98.9-FM in DeKalb, Ill. WJOL 1340-AM in Joliet, Ill. WRMN 1410-AM in Elgin, Ill. NIUTube (NIUHuskies.com)
Live Video: Big West TV (BigWest.org)
Live Stats: GoHighlanders.com
Twitter Updates: @NIUscores
All-time Series: First Meeting
Aaron Armstead scored 12 points, all in the second half, to help spark NIU to a comeback victory at Loyola-Chicago (Dec. 18). The Huskies erased a 14-point halftime deficit against the Ramblers.
Freshman Dontel Highsmith has scored in double figures in three of the last four games, including 10 points in a season-high 34 minutes at Loyola-Chicago.
Kevin Gray saw his first action of the season last time out at Loyola-Chicago.
Darrell Bowie is averaging 12.3 points and 7.8 rebounds over the last six games.
Travon Baker is shooting 46.7 percent from the field, and 50 percent from beyond the arc, over the last three games.
NIU is making its first trip to the State of California since Nov. 19, 1997, when it opened the 1997-98 season at Sacramento State.
Six of NIU's nine games have been decided by seven points or less, with four of those games being decided by five points or less.
ABOUT UC RIVERSIDE
UC Riverside has a 4-6 overall record after defeating UIC, 57-56, on a layup with 2.6 seconds remaining on Friday night. The Highlanders are 3-2 this season at home.
Taylor Johns is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Highlanders averaging 14.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Chris Patton also scores in double figures for UC Riverside at 13.2 points per contest.
Dennis Cutts assumed interim head coach duties at UC Riverside in July when former head coach Jim Wooldridge took over as interim athletic director. Cutts came to UC Riverside as an assistant coach in 2007.
The Highlanders were selected to finish 10th in the Big West preseason media poll.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Sunday's contest will be the first meeting between NIU and UC Riverside.
THE COMEBACK AT LOYOLA
NIU rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat Loyola-Chicago, 55-49, last time out (Dec. 18). The Huskies outscored the Ramblers 41-21 in the second half after trailing 28-14 at the break.
The victory was NIU's first this season when trailing at the half and just its second when trailing at the half during Mark Montgomery's tenure.
After shooting 23.1 percent (6-of-26) in the first half, the Huskies held Loyola to an identical 6-of-26 in the second half. NIU shot 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from the field after the intermission.
Four Huskies scored in double figures against the Ramblers, led by 14 points from Travon Baker. Darrell Bowie added 13 and a game-high nine rebounds, Aaron Armstead had 12 and Dontel Highsmith chipped in 10 points.
Aaron Armstead scored all 12 of his points in the second half, going 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Huskies made 6-of-6 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
The last time NIU won a game when trailing by more than 14 points at halftime was on Feb. 24, 2010, when the Huskies rallied from down 15 at the break (44-29) to defeat Central Michigan, 67-65, at home.
The win at Loyola snapped a four-game losing streak to the Ramblers and was NIU's first win at Loyola since 1995, snapping a five-game road losing streak in the series.
Loyola came into the contest averaging 70.1 points per game. Loyola's previous low total for points this season was 59 in a loss at Tulane.
HUSKIES HEAD WEST
Following their shortest road trip of the season to Loyola-Chicago (70 miles, one-way), the Huskies make their longest trip of the year when they travel to UC Riverside (1,922 miles, one-way).
The Huskies will be making their first trip to the Golden State since the 1997-98 season when they traveled to Sacramento State for the season opener, Nov. 19, 1997. NIU won that contest, 70-60.
NIU is traveling to the West Coast for the second consecutive season, last year the Huskies went to Seattle, Wash., for a week, playing Seattle University and the University of Washington.
The NIU football team will also be traveling to California this week. The Huskies will arrive in San Diego on Sunday (Dec. 22) in preparation for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 26, against Utah State.
A LONG DECEMBER ROAD TRIP
The Huskies are in the middle of a stretch of four-straight road games, continuing at UC Riverside. NIU opened with five-straight home games before playing five of six, and seven of nine, away from home.
NIU played just one home game in the month of December, a 64-57 victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 5.
The month of December will see the Huskies travel from coast-to-coast, heading to UMass on Dec. 14 and UC Riverside on Dec. 22.
The Huskies will travel a total of 6,502 miles during the month of December.
NIU's next home game will be on Friday, Jan. 3, when it hosts Bethune Cookman.