Northern Illinois (7-9) at Toledo (15-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 22, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Savage Hall (7,300) -- Toledo, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Northern Illinois 4-5, Toledo 8-0. Away Record: Northern Illinois 3-4, Toledo 5-2. Neutral Record: Northern Illinois 0-0, Toledo 2-0. Conference Record: Northern Illinois 1-3, Toledo 3-1. Series Record: Toledo leads, 41-23.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets look to extend a three-game win streak as they host the Northern Illinois Huskies in Mid-American Conference action at Savage Hall.
Northern Illinois has lost two in a row and three of its last four contests - all in MAC play - including a 65-46 loss to Ohio in the team's most recent outing. Northern Illinois is currently two games back of Toledo in the MAC West Division standings.
Since losing back-to-back games against nationally-ranked Kansas and then in the team's conference opener against Western Michigan, Toledo has gone on to capture three consecutive wins with a 75-61 defeat of Akron in the last outing.
Toledo has a pretty firm grip on the all-time series lead against Northern Illinois, 41-23. The last time these teams met on the court was March of 2013, which saw Toledo come away with a 70-46 victory over the Huskies.
Northern Illinois led at the half by a single point against Ohio, but couldn't hold on as the Bobcats went on a 16-4 run to open up play in the second frame. The Huskies ended up losing the contest by 19 points. Travon Baker and Aaron Armstead each netted 12 points to lead the Huskies in the loss, while Aksel Bolin was the third-leading scorer with just seven points. The Huskies shot a dismal 29.8 percent from the floor in the game.
Dontel Highsmith, who underwent knee surgery earlier this month, still leads the team in scoring with a 10.5 ppg average - the only player to net an average of double digits this season. Darrell Bowie is the team's active leading scorer with 9 ppg on just 36.2 percent shooting from the field. Bowie does lead the team in rebounding at 7 rpg. Baker checks in at 8.3 ppg and leads the team with 39 assists on the year.
Toledo seemingly had no trouble at all burying MAC East Division-leading Akron in a victory on the road. Julius Brown scored a season-high 25 points to lead the Rockets, while J.D. Weatherspoon netted 20 points and grabbed a team-best 14 rebounds for the double-double. Nathan Boothe also chipped in with 10 points in the win. The Rockets hit 44.4 percent of their shots in the game.
Rian Pearson and Brown provide the one-two scoring punch for Toledo this season, averaging 14.9 and 14.1 ppg, respectively. Pearson is shooting an impressive 51 percent from the floor, while Brown registers a team-best 116 total assists on the year. Weatherspoon, who averages 11.8 ppg, is also the team's leading rebounder at 6.5 rpg. The Rockets are scoring 83.6 ppg this season through their first 17 games.
With the way Toledo is playing both on the offensive and defensive ends, it's hard to envision them losing to a struggling Northern Illinois squad, especially at home where the Rockets are a perfect 8-0 this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 85, Northern Illinois 68
01/22 10:35:25 ET