Western Michigan (13-8) at Northern Illinois (10-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, February 9, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Western Michigan 9-2, Northern Illinois 5-6. Away Record: Western Michigan 2-6, Northern Illinois 5-5. Neutral Record: Western Michigan 2-0, Northern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Western Michigan 6-3, Northern Illinois 4-5. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 53-29.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Illinois Huskies have won three games in a row, and will try for a fourth when they host the Western Michigan Broncos in Mid- American Conference action at the Convocation Center.
Western Michigan has won two in a row and four of its last five games, including a 90-74 defeat of Ohio in MAC play on Wednesday. The Broncos are 6-3 in conference play this season - one and a half games behind Toledo for the MAC West Division lead.
After a four-game losing streak, the Huskies have won three in a row in conference play, bringing their record to 4-5 in the MAC. Northern Illinois is coming off a 53-41 victory over Miami-Ohio.
Western Michigan holds a hefty 53-29 all-time series lead over Northern Illinois. The two programs will meet on the court later this season on March 4.
The Broncos held just a one-point lead on Ohio going into the intermission Wednesday, but broke open a huge lead in the second half to defeat Ohio. Austin Richie netted 22 points to lead Western Michigan, while David Brown chipped in 20 points and both Connar Tava and Shayne Whittington scored 18. The Broncos shot an impressive 59.6 percent from the floor in the contest, including 61.5 percent from 3-point range.
Brown still leads the team in scoring with an 18.5 ppg mark on 41.1 percent shooting from the floor. Brown also has a team-high 28 steals on the season. Whittington is second in scoring with 14.8 ppg, a team-best 8.6 rpg average and 22 blocked shots on the year. Tava is third in scoring at 12.1 ppg and first in assists with a 2.8 apg average. The Broncos are scoring 71.4 ppg this season through 21 games played.
Northern Illinois outscored Miami-Ohio 25-4 in the final 13 minutes of play to claim its third consecutive win in conference play. Aksel Bolin, Travon Baker and Aaron Armstead all scored 10 points to lead the Huskies over the RedHawks. Jordan Threloff pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds in the victory, which saw the RedHawks shoot just 30 percent from the floor in the game. Northern Illinois hit just 26.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Darrell Bowie and Baker are the two active leading scorers for Northern Illinois this season at 9.3 and 9.1 ppg, respectively. The Huskies' only double-digit point scorer has been out for weeks after undergoing knee surgery. Still, the Huskies have banded together with solid defense, holding their opponents to just 63.9 ppg. Bowie leads the team with 6.5 rpg, and Baker tops the team with 56 assists on the year.
Both Western Michigan and Northern Illinois have been playing well recently, though the Huskies still need to find a source of consistent scoring. Their defense can't be leaned on all the time, especially against a strong offensive team like the Broncos.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 73, Northern Illinois 62
02/09 10:17:34 ET