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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: NIU Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 5-6, NIU 3-10. Away Record: CMU 1-11, NIU 2-11. Neutral Record: CMU 3-1, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 2-11, NIU 3-10. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 52-46.
GAME NOTES: The Central Michigan Chippewas hope to snap their 10-game losing streak as they visit the Convocation Center to square off with the Northern Illinois Huskies in a battle at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference West Division standings.
The Huskies got the better of CMU when they visited McGuirk Arena on Jan. 23 as they exploded for 42 second-half points to claim a 74-61 decision. Abdel Nader pumped in 23 points for NIU, which set its season-highs for points scored (74) and made 3-pointers (10) in the contest. Kyle Randall paced CMU with 12 points as the Chippewas shot a mere 32.7 percent from the field and surrendered a 10-point lead before falling by 13.
Keno Davis' first season at the helm of the Chippewas' program began with promise, but it began to go south in late January when his squad suffered the inaugural setback to NIU. The loss to the Huskies began the 10-game slide that was extended on Wednesday when CMU was defeated, 95-90, in a shootout at Ball State. The Chippewas have been unable to pick up too many wins this season despite the solid play of Randall. The UNC Greensboro transfer averaged just 5.7 ppg as a Spartan in 2011-12 before transferring to the Mid-American Conference to net 17.8 ppg. Unfortunately the 5-foot-10 guard has not had much help as Hibbitts is a distant second in the scoring column with 8.7 ppg.
NIU has also gone some time without a triumph as it suffered a 53-41 setback at home to Eastern Michigan on Wednesday to mark its seventh straight fruitless outing. The slump has dropped the Huskies to a 3-10 record both at home and also in conference action. Nader paces the Huskies with 13.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per tilt, but he is converting only 33.7 percent of his shots from the floor.
The Huskies' win over CMU earlier this season improved them to 52-46 versus CMU in the all-time series.
Randall went 6-of-15 from the floor to net 22 points on Saturday in the high- scoring affair against Ball State. Chris Fowler also supplied the Chippewas with 22 points and added 13 rebounds to register his first career double- double. Hibbitts netted 16 points while John Simons and Austin Keel scored 13 points apiece. As a team, CMU shot 52.5 percent from the floor including a red-hot 14-of-27 from beyond the arc, but it let BSU connect on 55.8 percent of its field-goal tries and outscore it, 26-14 at the charity stripe. CMU is a slightly better than par unit offensively in the MAC with an average of 67.5 ppg, but it has the worst scoring defense in the 12-team league with an allowed average of 73.0 ppg.
No Huskie managed to score in double figures as NIU was swept by EMU on Wednesday. Mike Davis led the team with nine points off the bench as it was limited to 10-of-42 shooting from the field. The poor showing marked the second dismal performance against the Eagles, as NIU tied its own NCAA record with four points in the first half, while shooting just 1-for-31 from the field. It finished the first contest 1-of-33 from beyond the arc as well.
The Chippewas were the only team to let NIU get into an offensive rhythm this season. The Huskies are in a terrible slump heading into the rematch which bodes well for CMU's hope of revenge. The Chippewas played tough their last time out and seem adamant on snapping their losing streak before the final appearance in the 2012-13 season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 68, Northern Illinois 59
03/02 10:46:06 ET
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