Cent. Florida plays tonight

By Jeff Kirik

Jim Rosborough’s Huskies will try to recover from last night’s heartbreaking 83-81 loss to Illinois-Chicago when Central Florida invades Chick Evans Field House tonight at 7 p.m.

The Huskies, now 5-17, could salvage a four-game homestand by defeating the Knights. A win would give NIU a 2-2 mark in their temporary stay at Chick Evans. NIU’s one bright spot in the homestand came in a 94-80 win over Central Connecticut State Saturday.

UCF enters the game at 8-14 after dropping two straight games, including a 94-86 defeat at the hands of Florida International Saturday. Florida International defeated NIU 73-72 in DeKalb Feb. 4 to begin the Huskies’ home stint.

The Knights probably will attempt to keep NIU’s offense off-balance by using a fullcourt press.

“They press, they have good quickness and they have pretty decent athletes,” Rosborough said. “I think we need to take care of the ball when they press us.”

Rosborough said he expects to see both a man-to-man and a zone press from UCF. When the press is a man-to-man, Rosborough said it will be senior guard Rodney Davis’ responsibility to get the ball up the floor. Against a zone, the Huskies will use a more team-oriented passing attack.

The Knights come into the game with three players scoring in double figures. Ben Morton, a 6-foot-8 transfer from San Jose State, leads the team with over 18 points per game. However, Morton has had a bad ankle over the last two games and failed to play against Florida International. UCF is 7-6 in the games the center has played in compared to its 1-8 record without him.

If Morton does not play, NIU would face a lineup in which the tallest player is 6-foot-6 Fred Crawford. Crawford and fellow forward Pat Crocklin are the other Knights in double figures with 12.5 and 10.8 ppg averages, respectively. NIU, which has rebounded well all season, should have an edge on the boards against the Knights even if Morton plays.

The Huskies will need Brett Andricks to keep up the balanced play he has shown the last two games. The sophomore guard scored 15 points and dished off a career-high nine assists against Central Connecticut before tallying a career-best 16 points Monday against UIC.

Freshman Jo Jo Jackson, who is usually an off guard, received a rare start at small forward Monday and responded with his collegiate high of 16 points.

Following the homestand, NIU will go on a brief two-game roadtrip which will see them play Southern Illinois Saturday and Kansas State Monday.