SIU Edwardsville (2-3) at Northern Illinois (1-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: NIU Convocation Center (5,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 2-1, NIU 1-2. Away Record: SIUE 0-2, NIU 0-3. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-0, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: SIUE 0-0, NIU 0-0. Series Record: Series tied 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off their first win in two weeks the SIU Edwardsville Cougars will try to topple instate foe Northern Illinois when the two squads meet up at NIU Convocation Center Wednesday night.
A 71-57 win over Chicago State helped SIU Edwardsville rebound from back-to- back losses and push its overall record to 2-3. The win came on the Cougars' home floor as they remain winless (0-2) on the road this season. SIU Edwardsville will get another crack to get a win on the road when it faces Western Illinois on Saturday.
With single-digit win totals in each of the last three season, the Huskies have clearly struggled to earn respect. That trend hasn't stopped this season as the Huskies are just 1-5 and riding a four-game losing streak. Northern Illinois' only win came against NAIA foe Judson meaning the Huskies have not beaten a Division I opponent since a 55-52 win over Eastern Michigan last March. The Huskies open up a four-game road trip against Milwaukee next.
With a 64-62 win last season SIU Edwardsville evened the all-time series with NIU at one win apiece.
SIU Edwardsville topped Chicago State 71-57 in its last time out. In the game the Cougars had to overcome a 34-26 deficit at halftime. The Cougars managed to do so by shooting at a 51.7 percent clip in the second half, while holding Chicago State to 28.0 percent. SIU Edwardsville captured the win despite being severely outrebounded (48-29) by forcing 20 turnovers and committing only nine. Jerome Jones tacked on 17 points to pace the team.
In its two wins SIU Edwardsville has outscored its opponents by an average of 12.5 points per game. However in the losses the Cougars are being outscored by 13.7 points per game. Overall the Cougars have a -3.0 scoring margin this season which is rather small considering they are shooting just 39.6 percent from the field. SIU Edwardsville is also on the wrong end of a -5.8 differential in rebounding. Jones (17.2 ppg, 4.5 apg) has been the focal point of the offense as the only player scoring with much consistency. Kris Davis (9.8 ppg), Mark Yelovich (8.8 ppg) and Maurice Wiltz (8.0 ppg) have shown the ability to score but are all shooting less than 40.0 percent from the field. In fact at 46.2 percent shooting, Jones is not only the most prolific scorer but the most efficient.
Northern Illinois had an absolutely miserable first half in a 60-43 loss to Dayton in its last outing. The Huskies managed only five points in the first half which tied for the second fewest points in a half in Division I during the shot-clock era. The Huskies heated up to 59.1 percent shooting in the second half but by then it was too late. Travon Baker was the lone offensive bright spot, scoring 17 points.
Although the Huskies' first half against Dayton was historically poor, it's not as if Northern Illinois had been lighting it up this season prior to that. The Huskies are scoring just 52.8 points per game and handing out 8.5 assists, while shooting 36.6 percent from the field. Those marks are both in the bottom 10 of all schools at the Division I level. Surprisingly Northern Illinois has managed to hold a +3.6 edge on the boards. Akeem Springs (10.3 ppg) is the only player scoring in double figures and is doing so just barely as he nets only 34.3 percent of his shots from the field. Aksel Bolin (7.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is the team's top rebounder.
This game is certainly not one that will have a great deal of offensive highlights but it may be one of the few opportunities for Northern Illinois to get in the win column this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 59, SIU Edwardsville 57
12/05 10:37:27 ET