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Northern Illinois (8-11) at Ball State (4-14)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 1, 2 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthen Arena (11,500) -- Muncie, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: NIU 4-6, BSU 4-4. Away Record: NIU 4-5, BSU 0-10. Neutral Record: NIU 0-0, BSU 0-0. Conference Record: NIU 2-5, BSU 1-6. Series Record: Ball State leads, 48-32.

GAME NOTES: Two teams struggling for victories meet at Worthen Arena on Saturday afternoon, as the Ball State Cardinals host the Northern Illinois Huskies in a Mid-American Conference clash.

The Huskies won at Kent State on Wednesday night, 50-49. That victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Northern Illinois, which improved to 8-11 overall and 2-5 in conference.

Ball State was not so lucky on Wednesday, as it was blown out at Akron, 73-46. The Cardinals have just two wins in their last 15 contests, and they are a dismal 1-6 in MAC action.

These teams have met 80 times, with the Cardinals holding a 48-32 advantage. Ball State took both meetings last year, and has won seven straight in the series overall.

Travon Baker drained two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining to lift Northern Illinois over Kent State at the MAC Center earlier this week. The Huskies were led by Aksel Bolin with 14 points, while Baker added 11 points and Jordan Threloff chipped in with 10. Trailing by 14 early in the final period, the Huskies went on a 20-5 run to get back into the game and set the stage for Baker�s game-winning shots.

Although offense is not the Huskies' strong suit, ranking last in the MAC in scoring (61.9 ppg), assists (8.5 apg) and field goal percentage (.381), they do lead the league on the boards (38.0 rpg), while holding foes to 65.0 ppg, which is the third-best yield in the conference. With leading scorer Dontel Highsmith (10.5 ppg) out for the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, Darrell Bowie (9.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg) has assumed the role of go-to guy, but he has only hit on 36.4 percent of his field goal attempts this season.

In the loss to Akron, Majok Majok led the Cardinals with 15 points. Ball State shot just 29.2 percent from the floor, and Akron ended the frame on a 29-7 run, as it went into the break leading comfortably, 35-19. Ball State could not recover in the second half.

Xavier Turner and Chris Bond are at the top of the Ball State scoring list, netting 12.2 ppg and 11.5 ppg, respectively. Bond is connecting on 45.4 percent of his shots from the floor, while Majok (11.2 ppg) hits on 56.2 percent and averages a near double-double with a team-best 9.8 rpg as well. Turner's 62 assists leads the team, but he carries the burden of 70 turnovers. Jesse Berry rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.0 ppg. As a collective unit, the Cardinals are scoring just 64.1 ppg while giving up 72.0 ppg.

Without much in the way of an offensive game, Northern Illinois has relied on its rebounding and defense to keep it in games. Luckily for the Huskies, they come up against a Ball State squad that struggles almost as much as they do to score. Despite the recent dominance by the Cardinals in the series, NIU is playing just a bit better now and should be able to pull out a tough road victory.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Illinois 65, Ball State 62

02/01 11:52:30 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
3rd
SFG 1
KAN 0
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
 
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
 
4th
WASU 23
ARZ 52
 
3rd
CLEM 3
SYR 6
 
3rd
LAMON 15
TXST 7
 
3rd
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 17
 
3rd
COLST 24
WYO 3
 
Half
LSU 3
MISS 7
 
2nd
TENN 7
ALA 27
 
Half
AUB 21
SCAR 21
 
2nd
PSU 0
OSU 7
 
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
2nd Intermission
TOR 0
BOS 2
 
3rd
NYI 4
DAL 4
 
3rd
PHI 2
DET 1
 
2nd Intermission
OTT 1
NJD 2
 
2nd Intermission
MON 2
NYR 1
 
1st Intermission
STL 1
CHI 1
 
2nd
NAS 0
PIT 1
 
2nd
MIN 4
TAM 1
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14