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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 11-4, NIU 3-9. Away Record: EMU 1-11, NIU 2-11. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 5-7, NIU 3-9. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 50-32.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Michigan Eagles hope to get back on track as they visit DeKalb for a Mid-American Conference duel with the Northern Illinois Huskies.
This will be the second meeting between these schools on the season. Northern Illinois broke its own NCAA Division I record for futility, scoring just four points in the first half of a 42-25 loss to Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti. The Huskies shot just 3.2 percent from the floor in the first half and went 8- of-61 (13.1 percent) from the field in the game. They also went 1-of-33 from beyond the arc, while EMU hit on 37.1 percent of its field goal tries to easily win.
Rob Murphy's Eagles are coming off a 57-54 home loss to Missouri State that was part of this past weekend's BracketBuster event. The setback dropped them to a 12-15 overall record and marked their fourth loss in five games. EMU has been atrocious away from home this season with a 1-11 record in true road tests. Senior guard Derek Thompson is leading the way offensively, tallying 10.6 points per game on 35.4 percent shooting from the field. Pacing the Eagles in rebounding is junior center Da'Shonte Riley, who is posting 6.0 boards and 2.1 blocks per game.
EMU is leading the MAC in scoring defense with an allowed average of just 60.0 ppg and despite the loss, it showed off its defensive prowess versus Missouri State by limiting the Bears to 40.9 percent shooting from the field including an ice-cold 5-of-21 clip from beyond the arc. The Eagles managed to connect on 45.5 percent of their own field-goal tries including 8-of-16 from long distance, but they were outscored by 10 points at the charity stripe as they surrendered a 13-point first half lead.
NIU was unable to find better results in its break from MAC play on Saturday as it was dealt a 59-47 loss by Eastern Illinois at home in the BracketBuster event. The loss marked the sixth in a row for Mike Montgomery's team, which is just 3-9 in conference action and owns the same record in home games. Abdel Nader paces the Huskies with 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per tilt, but he is converting only 34.4 percent of his shots from the floor.
Nader netted 17 points for the Huskies in their loss to EIU, but none of his teammates joined him in double digits. The contest was close early on as NIU went into halftime trailing by only two points, but the Panthers began the second stanza on an 8-0 run to take control. The offensive woes continued as NIU finished 19-of-52 (36.5 percent) from the field and just 4-of-20 (20 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Eagles have proven they can bring some intensity on the defensive end to pick up victories, but they have failed to do so on the road. NIU clearly does not match up well with EMU and although it will be hard to duplicate its record-breaking poor shooting display from the first matchup, it is hard to see it improving enough to reverse the result.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 58, Northern Illinois 51
02/27 10:33:47 ET
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