GAME NOTES: The Northern Illinois Huskies will try to take down a Division I foe for the first time this season when they head to the Buckeye State for non-conference action with the Dayton Flyers.
The Huskies saw their record drop to 1-4 on Tuesday as they suffered a 58-46 setback to Illinois-Chicago. It was the second loss in a row for NIU, which gained its only win over Judson College from the NAIA. Three of the team's setbacks have come by double-digit margins and it has only scored 50.5 ppg in its losses. Coach Mark Montgomery is now in his second season at the helm of the struggling program. In his first season, NIU fell to its first 13 Division I opponents before notching a victory.
Dayton will be looking to recover from the 62-61 home loss to Weber State it endured on Wednesday. The defeat ended the team's three-game winning streak and dropped its record to 4-2 on the early season. The Flyers have been excellent otherwise. Their only other setback came at the hands of a very talented Colorado squad and they managed to take down Arkansas State, Boston College, Auburn, and Manhattan. Coach Archie Miller has a balanced team in his second season, as it is producing 69.7 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting and allowing only 63.7 ppg. Dayton is coming off a postseason bid for the fifth straight year. The Flyers went to the NIT for the third straight season in 2011-12.
The Flyers lead the all-time series 1-0. The only meeting came on Feb. 15, 1967 when the Flyers won 101-60.
NIU was held to 46 points for the third time this season by UIC its last time out. The Huskies converted just 32.7 percent of their field goal attempts including only 4-of-16 from beyond the arc. They did manage to hold a slight edge in the rebounding battle (36-34), but that was off-set by their 15 turnovers. The starting five shot a combined 5-of-23 from the floor in the contest. Sam Mader scored 15 points in 21 minutes off the bench to pace the team. Akeem Springs is leading NIU with a mere 10.6 ppg. Aksel Bolin is the most active on the glass with 5.6 rpg.
Dayton surrendered a 25-20 halftime lead after it allowed Weber State to convert 61.9 percent from the floor, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc after the break. The Flyers have forced 43 turnovers over their past two outings, but lost the rebounding battle to WSU (36-31) to make it the first instance they have been beat on the boards this season. Despite playing one of its worst games of the season, senior guard Kevin Dillard had a chance to force overtime with a potentially game-tying three in the closing seconds. Dillard led the team with 18 points and four assists, while senior forward Josh Benson registered 17 points and nine rebounds. Willard is averaging a team-high 15.7 ppg while Vee Sanford (11.8), Benson (10.3), and Devin Oliver (10.3) are also scoring in double figures.
This game should be an easy trip back to the win column for Dayton. The Huskies are not going to be able to stop the Flyers or score on them enough to keep it close.