Basketball continues quest for 20 wins

By Krystal Ward

Men’s basketball (18-8, 7-6 MAC) will play its third to last road game Friday when it takes on Ball State University (17-9, 8-5 MAC) in the first of two meetings between the teams this season.

The Huskies and Cardinals last met on March 6, when NIU grinded out a 71-67 overtime win at Worthen Arena. NIU led by three in the final seconds of regulation when Sean Sellers, Ball State sophomore forward, knocked down a contested corner three that sent the game into overtime.

All five starters for the Huskies scored in double-figures including senior guard Travon Baker, junior guard Aaric Armstead and sophomore center Marin Maric. NIU hit key free throws in the extra session to pull out the four-point victory. The Huskies have won their last four contests against the Cardinals.

Ball State is at the top of the MAC West, followed by NIU and the University of Toledo. A win in Friday’s game will give the Huskies a better record than the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are 10-4 at home this season while the Huskies are just 3-7 away from the Convocation Center. NIU has lost five of its last six road games with its last victory coming Jan. 12 in Toledo.

Head coach Mark Montgomery said going on the road in the MAC is a “dogfight” and to “throw the records out the window” when those games do come. If the Huskies continue to compete like they have all season and are aggressive from the start of the game, they will have a good chance to pull out the victory. The Huskies are approaching 20 wins for the first time in 20 years.

Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Friday in Muncie, Ind. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The next meeting between the two teams will come at 6 p.m. March 4 at the Convocation Center.

Ball State

• Ball State is first in scoring defense in the MAC, averaging 66 points per game.

• Second in field goal percentage defense, behind NIU, in the MAC (40 percent).

• Third in three-point field goal percentage in the MAC (38 percent).

• Fourth in field goal percentage in the MAC (44 percent); blocked shots, averaging 3.7 per game and assists, averaging 14.6 per game.

• Seventh in defensive rebounds in the MAC, averaging 26.4 per game.

• Eleventh in offensive rebounds in the MAC, averaging 8.9 per game.

• Senior forward Bo Calhoun is fourth in rebounding in the MAC, averaging 8.5 per game.

• Junior forward Franko House is sixth in field goal percentage in the MAC (54 percent).


• NIU is second in scoring defense in the MAC, behind Ball State, averaging 67 points per game.

• First in offensive rebounds in the MAC, averaging 12.6 per game and third in defensive rebounds, averaging 27.4 per game.

• Second in steals in the MAC, averaging 7.4 per game.

• Third in assists in the MAC, averaging 14.8 per game.

• Fourth in steals in the MAC, averaging 1.4 per game and fifth in assists, averaging four per game.

• Junior guard Michael Orris is second in assists/turnover ratio, with a 2.3 ratio.

• Maric is fifth in rebounding in the MAC, averaging 8.4 per game.