DePaul vs. Northern Illinois Game Preview

The Blue Demons host the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena in a non-conference clash.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons (7-3) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (2-6) – Sunday, December 16th, 4:00 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

Television – no TV for this game

Radio – WYLL AM 1160 Chicago, WLBK 1360-AM DeKalb, WJOL 1340-AM Joliet

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Game Preview

Mark Montgomery is in his second year at the helm of the Huskies in DeKalb. While NIU is a better team this year than they were last year, Montgomery's rebuilding effort still has a ways to go.

NIU is a better team right now than they were earlier in the season. That's due to the return of 6-7 sophomore wing Abdel Nader from Niles North. Nader was suspended from early November until last Friday night following an alcohol related arrest.

In his return at Milwaukee last week, Nader scored 17 points in a 80-73 overtime defeat.

The Huskies have a young team comprised of mostly freshmen and sophomores.

"They are capable," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said on WSCR Radio on Friday night. "They've got some Chicagoland guys there who I'm sure will want to play well against us."

One of those guys is former Waukegan star Akeem Springs. The 6-3 freshman guard scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds against Milwaukee. He is averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on the road.

Montgomery, a former Michigan State assistant, has also done a good job of mining talent from the state of Michigan. Freshman point guard Travon Baker is averaging 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and two assists over the last three games.

Sam Mader, a 6-9 freshman from Wisconsin, has reached double figures in three of the last four games.

The Huskies have been without junior guard Antone Christian, who has missed the last six games due to a foot injury. NIU got some good news this week when Christian returned to practice for the first time. He may dress for Sunday's game.

NIU has had the last nine days off to prepare for DePaul due to final exams.

One aspect of the game that DePaul needs to be mindful of is rebounding. NIU has outrebounded its opponents by an average of 3.8 boards per contest.

"It is about us and our preparation, but at the same time, we've got to do a do a good job on the backboards like we've been doing the last four or five games," said Purnell. "If we do that, it will give us a great shot to win."

The Last Time

On December 14, 2011, the Blue Demons ratcheted up their full court press in the second half to walk away from DeKalb, Illinois with a 75-52 win over the NIU Huskies.

DePaul disrupted Northern Illinois by wearing them down with their press in the second half.

Wear it down it did as the Blue Demons went on a 17-0 run in the second half.

NIU managed to dictate the tempo in the first half and only trailed 28-25 at intermission.

Brandon Young received the Jay Goedert Memorial Award as the game's most valuable player after scoring 16 points, dishing out five assists, and grabbing four steals.

DePaul sophomore Cleveland Melvin led all scorers with 19 points. Senior guard Jeremiah Kelly contributed with 15 points and Moses Morgan came in off the bench to add 11 points.

Tim Toler led the way for NIU with a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.


- 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. DePaul guard Brandon Young won the award in DeKalb last year.

NIU Roster

NO NAME HT WT POS Year Hometown/High School/Last College

5 Travon Baker 5-10 155 G FR Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium

11 Daveon Balls 6-0 165 G FR Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North

32 Aksel Bolin 6-7 220 G/F JR Asker, Norway/Asker

10 Darrell Bowie 6-6 215 W FR Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep (Calif.)

3 Antone Christian 6-2 200 G RS JR Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet

15 J.J. Cravatta 6-1 180 G FR Streator, Ill./Streator Township

24 Mike Davis 6-2 200 G FR Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights

21 Keith Gray 6-8 225 F SO Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy

13 Kevin Gray 6-8 225 F SO Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy

4 Brandon Hayes 6-4 200 F SR Homewood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor/Parkland College

14 Sam Mader 6-9 220 F FR Appleton, Wis./Appleton East

23 Abdel Nader 6-7 225 W SO Skokie, Ill./Niles North

25 Tony Nixon 6-4 207 G SR South Holland, Ill./Seton Academy

0 Pete Rakocevic 6-11 225 C JR Chicago, Ill./Wilbraham & Monson Prep/Sacramento State

2 Akeem Springs 6-3 208 G FR Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township

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