Northern Illinois (15-16) vs. Eastern Michigan (19-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 12, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Quicken Loans Arena (20,562) -- Cleveland, Ohio. Television: Time Warner, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Northern Illinois 10-7, Eastern Michigan 15-3. Away Record: Northern Illinois 5-9, Eastern Michigan 4-10. Neutral Record: Northern Illinois 0-0, Eastern Michigan 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Illinois 8-10, Eastern Michigan 10-8. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 51-36.
GAME NOTES: The second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament will conclude with a matchup featuring the seventh-seeded Northern Illinois Huskies against the sixth-seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles at Quicken Loans Arena.
The winner of this contest will advance to face third-seeded Buffalo, which received an automatic double-bye thanks to its seeding.
Northern Illinois took down Bowling Green in an overtime first-round game Monday, 54-51, advancing to the second round. The Huskies have now won two games in a row.
Eastern Michigan took down intrastate rival Central Michigan on Monday in the first round with ease, 72-60. The Eagles enter the second round having won four of their last five games dating back to the regular season.
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series against Eastern Michigan, 51-36. The Huskies lost the most recent matchup against the Eagles, 56-52, but won in a thrilling double-overtime game at NIU back on Feb. 20.
Bowling Green trailed by three points, 49-46, with 23 seconds remaining against Northern Illinois on Monday. As time was winding down, a missed 3- point attempt by the Falcons was tipped out for an offensive rebound to Jehvon Clarke, who drained his 3-point try with 1.5 seconds left in regulation. The score held up, and overtime was needed. The Huskies, led by center Jordan Threloff, prevailed in the extra session. Threloff tallied 13 points to pace the team, adding nine rebounds and two steals to his stat line. Aaric Armstead was the only other Huskies player to score in double figures, chipping in 12 points with five boards and four steals. Darrell Bowie netted nine points, pulled down six rebounds, dished out three assists, blocked three shots and notched four steals in a stat-filled contest for the team's leading scorer.
Bowie has been the manager of the Huskies, who don't have a single active player averaging a scoring total in double digits. Bowie enters this game with a 9.8 ppg average, adding 6.6 rpg, 17 blocked shots and 31 steals to his resume. Threloff is second in scoring at 9.2 ppg, grabbing a team-best 6.9 rpg with a team-high 29 blocked shots. Travon Baker's 2.5 apg averages leads the Huskies, along with his 1.5 spg mark. Scoring has been an issue for NIU this season, averaging just 62.7 ppg, but the team holds opponents to just 63.2 ppg through 31 games played.
Eastern Michigan had just a three-point advantage over Central Michigan at the half in Monday's first-round contest. However, the Eagles broke things open in the second period by outscoring the Chippewas, 45-36, to create a cushion that held up for the win. Karrington Ward scored a team-high 20 points in the game, adding eight rebounds and a 6-of-9 shooting mark from 3-point range to his stats. Daylen Harrison chipped in 13 points, while Raven Lee and Mike Talley each contributed 11 points in the winning effort. Talley dished out a team- best eight assists and recorded a pair of steals.
Ward improved his already team-leading scoring average with the 20-point outburst. He tops the Eagles roster with a 12.7 ppg mark on 44.6 percent shooting from the floor, adding a team-best 6.4 rpg average, 46 steals and 22 blocked shots to his season resume. Talley is second in scoring behind Ward, averaging 10.5 ppg with a team-best 3.7 apg. Lee rounds out the double-digit scorers on the EMU squad with 10.5 ppg. Eastern Michigan is netting 67 ppg, and giving up just 61.8 ppg to its opposition.
This contest should result in a battle of two strong scoring defenses. In the two games they played during the regular season, the winning squad scored 61 points in the first meeting (in double overtime) and 56 points in the second. The Eagles have been hot though, and should have enough offense to move past the Huskies for a trip to the third round.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 66, Northern Illinois 60
03/12 10:34:49 ET