Toledo (23-4) at Northern Illinois (12-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 26, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 13-0, Northern Illinois 7-7. Away Record: Toledo 8-4, Northern Illinois 5-7. Neutral Record: Toledo 2-0, Northern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 11-3, Northern Illinois 6-8. Series Record: Toledo leads, 42-23.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets will try and extend a two-game win streak as they travel to face the Northern Illinois Huskies in a Mid-American Conference battle at the Convocation Center.
Toledo has won two games in a row and five of its last six contests overall. The Rockets handled Ball State on Sunday, 85-74, to improve to 11-3 in the conference standings, which is tied for first in the MAC West Division with Western Michigan.
Northern Illinois has lost two of its last three games played and three of its last five. The Huskies were dropped by Central Michigan, 70-67, on Sunday in a tough loss. Northern Illinois finds itself at 6-8 in conference play with four games remaining on its regular season schedule.
Toledo has a pretty firm grip on the all-time series between the two programs, 42-23. The Rockets came away victorious in the head-to-head matchup with the Huskies earlier this season, 77-68.
Toledo gained an 11-point lead by the end of the first half against Ball State, and just needed to fend off the injured Cardinals in the second half to maintain the advantage and earn the win. Julius Brown scored 20 points in the win with a team-high seven assists. Nathan Boothe and Justin Drummond each chipped in 17 points, while J.D. Weatherspoon contributed 14 with eight rebounds. Rian Pearson rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Rockets with 13 points.
A handful of Toledo players have been steady contributors offensively this season, led by Brown who averages 15 ppg with a team-best 170 assists. Pearson is second on the Rockets in scoring with 14.1 ppg and a team-high 45 steals, followed by Drummond (13.9 ppg) and Weatherspoon (11.2 ppg). Weatherspoon leads the team with 6.8 rpg, while both Pearson and Drummond add 5 rpg. Toledo is dominating the offensive end this season with 81 ppg as a team.
Northern Illinois trailed Central Michigan by six points with 32 seconds remaining in Sunday's contest, but the Huskies made some headway into the lead. A Huskies' heave at the buzzer fell short of the rim, and Central Michigan escaped with the three-point win. Aaric Armstead scored a team-high 19 points in the losing effort, adding seven rebounds to his stat line. Darrell Bowie chipped in 14 points, and Daveon Balls added 10 points off the bench. Jordan Threloff pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds for NIU.
Bowie is the closest thing the Huskies have on their active roster to a double-digit point scorer this season. Bowie is netting 9.7 ppg with a team- leading 6.9 rpg. Travon Baker is scoring 9 ppg, adding a team-high 66 assists and 42 steals to his resume. Northern Illinois has had some issues in scoring this season, averaging just 63 ppg as a unit.
With Western Michigan in action against conference basement-dweller Ball State, Toledo will be gunning for a victory here to maintain at least a lead of the MAC West Division.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 81, Northern Illinois 69
02/26 10:35:31 ET