DePaul Blue Demons vs. Northern Illinois Huskies – Wednesday, December 14th, 8:00 p.m. Central – DeKalb, Illinois
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Former Michigan State assistant coach Mark Montgomery is in his first year in DeKalb. He has his work cut out for him as he tries to rebuild the NIU program. Once Montgomery gets his own recruits in, he'll do just fine in DeKalb.
As for this season, NIU is going to struggle. The Huskies are off to an 0-8 start. Not only are they 0-8, but they lost their exhibition game to Carthage too. However, NIU did lose by just two points to a Milwaukee Panthers team that beat the Blue Demons on December 5th.
The Huskies are coming off a 62-55 loss at UIC. NIU was within one point with two minutes to play in that contest.
Montgomery has a pretty young squad and is relying on a number of freshmen to develop as this season goes on.
NIU is led by 6-7, 258 lb. big man Tim Toler, who is averaging 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Toler is big and beefy. Given DePaul's problems with defending the interior, Blue Demon center Krys Faber had better be ready for the immovable force that is Toler.
The Huskies have been led in scoring on a few occasions this season by freshman forward Abdel Nader from Niles North. Nader is averaging 8.9 ppg. However, Nader only played two minutes in the loss to UIC and has been hampered by a foot injury according to Montgomery.
Redshirt sophomore Anton Christian is contributing with 5.6 ppg for NIU. Marquavese Ford, a freshman from Saginaw, Michigan, has stepped in and made an impact. The point guard is averaging 5.3 ppg and dishes out close to three assists per game.
One of NIU's biggest weaknesses is shooting from the perimeter. As a team, the Huskies are shooting a paltry 28.6% from beyond the arc. Former Seton Academy guard Tony Nixon (4.8 ppg) is the team's best shooter coming off the bench.
Montgomery is recruiting the Chicago area and has brought in the Gray twins from Brooks as part of his freshmen class. Kevin Gray started at UIC, while Keith Gray scored 11 points off the bench against the Flames.
DePaul (6-3) is coming off a Saturday game where the Blue Demons gave up 95 points to lowly Chicago State. DePaul coach Oliver Purnell has been unhappy with his team's defensive performance in the win.
"I told them, we have no shot at winning at Northern Illinois with that kind of effort, energy, and approach," said Purnell. "So, we had better grow up. To me it's a sign of immaturity as a basketball team."
So, Purnell continues to try to drill defensive fundamentals into his young team's heads as they prepare for the Huskies.
"We'll just keep hitting that rock," said Purnell. "We'll have some tough practices between here and Northern Illinois."
The Last Time
On December 2nd, 2010, DePaul coach Oliver Purnell got his first win at Allstate Arena with a 86-84 win over the NIU Huskies.
The Blue Demons were led by a career-high 25 points from sophomore forward Tony Freeland, who walked away with the Jay Goedert Memorial player of the game award.
While Freeland may have received the award, it was freshman point guard Brandon Young's clutch play down the stretch that secured the win for DePaul. Young scored 17 points, all of which came in the second half.
Senior Mike Stovall also chipped in with 16 points for DePaul.
The Huskies were led by a 34 point effort from Xavier Silas, who matched his previous career high.
Jeremy Landers contributed with 14 points and freshman Nate Rucker chipped in with 13 points for NIU.
- The player of the game will receive 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 NAME HT WT POS Year Hometown/High School/Last College
35 DeAndre Barnette 6-4 195 W FR Jackson, Tenn./Liberty Tech
20 Stian Berg 6-2 167 G FR Baerum, Norway/Norges Toppidretts Gymnas
32 Aksel Bolin 6-7 200 G/F SO Asker, Norway/Asker
3 Antone Christian 6-2 195 G RS SO Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King
15 Marquavese Ford 6-1 170 G FR Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw
21 Keith Gray 6-6 205 F FR Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy
13 Kevin Gray 6-6 205 F FR Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy
4 Brandon Hayes 6-4 185 F JR Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmore/Parkland College
43 Jeremiah Jackson 6-5 195 F FR Chicago, Ill./Warren Township
11 Zach Miller 5-8 170 G FR Chicago, Ill./Glenbard East
23 Abdel Nader 6-7 210 W FR Skokie, Ill./Niles North
25 Tony Nixon 6-4 207 G JR South Holland, Ill./Seton Academy
44 Tyler Storm 6-5 220 F SR Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo
5 Tim Toler 6-7 258 F SR Indianapolis, Ind./Avon/Danville Area (Ill.) CC
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