San Jose State (0-2) at Northern Illinois (0-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: SJSU 0-0, NIU 0-0. Away Record: SJSU 0-1, NIU 0-0. Neutral Record: SJSU 0-1, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: SJSU 0-0, NIU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The San Jose State Spartans will try to notch their first win of the season as they clash with the Northern Illinois Huskies at the Convocation Center as part of the NIU Invitational.
The Spartans came up just short of their first win on Friday as they were defeated, 64-61, by Milwaukee in the opening game of the tournament. San Jose State has lost 16 games in a row dating back to last season after going winless in Western Athletic Conference play. The school hired coach Dave Wojcik to lead it into its first year as a member of the Mountain West Conference. Wojcik has a handful of new faces on his squad, as the Spartans look to rebuild after netting only 62 points per game in 2012-13.
NIU fell to 0-2 on Friday as it dropped a 60-55 decision to James Madison in a very competitive game. The Huskies previously lost to Nebraska Omaha in their first appearance of the 2013-14 campaign. Mike Montgomery is now in his third year as the head coach of Northern Illinois. His first two years have been frustrating as he has gone a woeful 10-51 over that span. The Huskies have been struggling offensively during his tenure and that continued versus the Dukes. They shot just 31.6 percent from the field including a 5-of-28 clip from 3-point range.
This will be the third meeting in history between SJSU and NIU. The series is tied at 1-1. The Spartans evened the series with a 53-41 victory on Dec. 29, 2005.
The Spartans are the only winless team left in the Mountain West Conference after failing in their first two outings. SJSU was led by Rashad Muhammad on Friday as he came off the bench to lead all scorers with 17 points, but two three-point attempts by San Jose State with under six seconds fell short, causing the setback. Muhammad also tallied 15 points off the bench in the season opener, so there is little doubt he will play a vital role for SJSU as the team's sixth man. Jalen James also played a big role in Friday's contest, finishing with 12 points and five assists. Jaleel Williams, who scored a team- high 20 points versus Santa Clara to begin the season, tallied 11 points and five boards, but was limited to just 22 minutes because of foul trouble. Milwaukee forced 18 turnovers, which turned into 20 points, while the Spartans had just five points off of turnovers.
The Huskies were paced by Travon Baker with 17 points, followed by Aaron Armstead, who netted 16 points versus JMU. The Dukes outscored NIU, 34-26, in the paint to pick up the decision. Montgomery's team showed some fight in the setback as it overcame a 10-point first half deficit and won the second stanza by five points. Aksel Bolin, who was the team's leading scorer among returners after netting 7.2 ppg last season, has gone 2-of-14 from the field through his first two outings.
The Huskies have given a strong second half effort in both of their games this season. They should be able to pick up their first decision here, as the Spartans are clearly in a rebuilding era.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 66, San Jose State 62
11/16 10:41:16 ET