Northern Illinois (13-14) at Eastern Michigan (16-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (9,500) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Northern Illinois 8-7, Eastern Michigan 12-3. Away Record: Northern Illinois 5-7, Eastern Michigan 4-9. Neutral Record: Northern Illinois 0-0, Eastern Michigan 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Illinois 7-8, Eastern Michigan 8-7. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 51-35.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Illinois Huskies have won two of their last three games, including a double-overtime victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles, which the Eagles will now try to avenge as they host the Huskies in a Mid- American Conference bout at the Convocation Center.
Northern Illinois has won two of its last three games and three of its last five, including a surprising victory over Toledo on Wednesday, 74-66. The win bumped the Huskies up to 7-8 in the conference, and dropped Toledo a game behind Western Michigan in the MAC West Division.
Eastern Michigan won its last outing, which was a 64-42 drubbing of intrastate rival Central Michigan. Before that, though, the Eagles had dropped their last two contests, including the double-overtime loss to Northern Illinois.
The Huskies lead the all-time series against Eastern Michigan, 51-35, which was increased back on Feb. 20 with the thrilling double-overtime defeat of the Eagles in DeKalb.
Toledo led Northern Illinois at the end of the first half by a single point, but the Huskies stepped up their defense in the second period, holding the Rockets to 34.4 percent shooting in the frame to grab the lead. Travon Baker netted 17 points to pace his Huskies, and Jordan Threloff chipped in 13 points with nine rebounds. Aksel Bolin and Aaron Armstead each added 11 points in the game, and as a team NIU hit 22-of-27 from the free-throw line in the second half to help down the Rockets.
Darrell Bowie is the Huskies' active leading scorer, registering 9.6 ppg on 35.9 percent shooting from the floor with a team-leading 7 rpg. Baker bumped his average up to 9.3 ppg after his 17-point performance Wednesday, and leads the team with 68 assists on the year. Threloff, who is second on the team in rebounding with 6.5 rpg, tops the squad with 25 blocked shots. The Huskies as a unit average 63.4 ppg, and give up 64.3 ppg to their opponents.
Eastern Michigan took a five-point lead over Central Michigan at the half in the Eagles' last outing, holding the Chippewas to 19 points in the half. EMU blew open a much larger lead in the second frame by outscoring CMU, 40-23, to take the 18-point victory. Karrington Ward scored a game-high 18 points for the Eagles, adding three steals to his stat line. Glenn Bryant chipped in 12 points and five rebounds in the lopsided win, while Da'Shonte Riley pulled down a team-high eight boards.
Ward continues to lead Eastern Michigan this season in scoring, averaging 12.6 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting. Ward's 6.5 rpg mark is a team best, and 43 steals is 10 more than Daylen Harrison's second-best 33 steals. Raven Lee, Mike Talley and Bryant all average point totals in the double digits - Lee at 10.3 ppg, Talley with 10.1 ppg and Bryant at 10 ppg. Talley adds a team-high 3.4 apg average to his resume.
Eastern Michigan will surely be looking to avenge its heartbreaking loss on the road to NIU just a little over a week ago, but this time will have the edge with the homecourt advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 70, Northern Illinois 64
03/01 11:01:47 ET