DePaul Blue Demons vs. Northern Illinois Huskies – Thursday, December 2nd, 7:30 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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It’s MAC week at Allstate Arena. The Blue Demons face two schools from the Mid-American Conference this week – NIU on Thursday and Central Michigan on Sunday. Also, Ball State from the MAC will be at McGrath Arena on the 11th.
This is the first time in the Ricardo Patton era at NIU that the Huskies have met DePaul and it could be the last.
NIU hasn’t fared very well under Patton, who is on the hot seat in his fourth year in DeKalb and is 28-65.
Both teams are desperate for a win going into Thursday’s game. DePaul is 1-4 and is coming off a 0-3 trip to the west coast for the 76 Classic. The Huskies are 2-3 and own wins over only NAIA school Cardinal Stritch (coached by Drew Diener) at home and Maryland-Eastern Shore on the road.
One of the reasons Patton is in trouble is NIU lost a number of players to transfer during the offseason. Three of Patton’s leading scorers left the program. Former Von Steuben guard Mike DiNunno (7 ppg and 3 apg) transferred to Eastern Kentucky. Jake Anderson has moved on to Iowa State after graduating and averaging 13.2 ppg over three years. Big man Sean Kowal (10 ppg and 6 rpg) left the program and has not been allowed to play elsewhere by the NCAA due to suspicion of tampering.
NIU does have one returning starter in Colorado transfer Xavier Silas. Silas is the one player that DePaul can’t afford to have go off on them. Silas was named the MAC West Player of the Week for the last two weeks and is the nation’s eighth leading scorer at 24.8 ppg.
The Huskies are coming off a 80-51 thumping at home from Boise State on Monday night. Silas was held to nine points in the contest. It was a performance that Patton apologized for afterwards.
"I'd like to apologize for tonight's performance," said Patton. "To come out the way we did...it was a very disappointing loss. Until our guys understand that we have to hang our hat on defense and rebounding, we're not going to get there. There are certain guys you expect to rebound the basketball and that didn't happen tonight.”
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell could probably relate with Patton, he too has been disappointed in his team’s rebounding performance during the early part of the non-conference schedule.
To win the battle on the boards, the Blue Demons will have to contain freshman forward Nate Rucker (5 rpg) and juco transfer Tim Toler (4.4 rpg), who is a big and beefy center at 6-7, 270 lbs.
With losses to Western Carolina and Cal State Northridge on the schedule already, DePaul can’t afford to take any opponent lightly and needs to starting putting marks in the win column desperately and it has to begin on Thursday night.
- The Blue Demons will travel to DeKalb next year for the next game in the series with NIU.
- The Most Valuable Player of the DePaul vs. Northern Illinois game receives the Jay Goedert Memorial Award. The award is named in honor of former DePaul and NIU assistant coach Jay Goedert who passed away in July of 2004 at the age of 44. No DePaul player has won the award since it was instituted.
The Last Time
In November of 2005, the Blue Demons traveled to DeKalb to face the Huskies at the Convocation Center. NIU came away the winner in a 77-68 battle.
James Hughes led the Huskies with 17 points and 6 rebounds and took home the Jay Goedert Memorial trophy as the Most Valuable Player.
Guard Sammy Mejia led DePaul with 12 points.
NO NAME HT WT POS Year Hometown/High School/Last College
32 Aksel Bolin 6-7 200 G/F FR Asker, Norway/Asker
3 Antone Christian 6-2 189 G RS FR Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet
2 Tre Edwards 6-0 172 G FR Racine, Wis./Racine Park
30 Lee Fisher 6-5 212 F RS JR Dolton, Ill./Thornridge
1 Bryan Hall 6-1 168 G JR Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young
55 Kyree Jones 6-2 205 G FR Indianapolis, Ind.//North Carolina Prep Tech
24 Jeremy Landers 6-2 185 G SR Milwaukee, Wis./Murphysboro (IL)/Genesis One (MS)
23 Cameron Madlock 6-9 215 F JR Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay Dominican/Lee CC (Texas)
25 Tony Nixon 6-4 200 G SO South Holland, Ill./Seton Academy
4 Michael Patton 5-10 189 G SR Boulder, Colo./Boulder/Solebury School (PA)
12 Nate Rucker 6-6 245 F/C FR Memphis, Tenn./Melrose
13 Xavier Silas 6-5 198 G SR Austin, Tex./Brewster Academy (N.H.)/University of Colorado
44 Tyler Storm 6-7 217 F JR Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo
5 Tim Toler 6-7 270 F JR Indianapolis, Ind./Avon/Danville Area (Ill.) CC