The Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team heads back on the road Tuesday as the Huskies travel to Muncie, Ind., to face Ball State. Game time against the Cardinals is slated for 6 p.m. CT and will be available on ESPN+, as well as 94-9 WDKB and The Varsity Network app.
NIU is coming off an 81-53 victory on Saturday (Feb. 11) to improve to 11-14 overall, 7-5 in Mid-American Conference play, fifth in the league standings. Six players scored in double figures against the Broncos, led by 18 points from Zarique Nutter (Newark, N.J.). It marked the first time NIU had six double figure scorers in a game since Dec. 14, 2016, against Olivet Nazarene.
Anthony Crump (Inkster, Mich.) and Kaleb Thornton (Bolingbrook, Ill.) both recorded double-doubles against Western Michigan, with Crump posting 11 points and a career-best 14 rebounds while Thornton had 10 points and a career-high tying 11 assists. It was the first time since Nov. 18, 2019, against Longwood that two Huskies had double-doubles in the same game.
The win over Western Michigan also gave NIU its first season sweep of the Broncos since the 2005-06 season.
NIU currently has four players leading the MAC in statistical categories in conference play. Thornton leads the league in both assists, with 6.1 per game, and steals, recording 2.5 per contest. David Coit (Columbus, N.J.) has the conference lead in free throw percentage, shooting 94.4 percent (34-of-36) while Harvin Ibarguen (Cali, Colombia) is tied for the league lead in field goal percentage, shooting 80.9 percent (38-of-47).
The Cardinals come into Tuesday’s contest with an 18-7 overall record, including a 9-3 mark in MAC play, tied for third in the conference. Ball State is 10-1 at home this season and is coming off a 93-72 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday (Feb. 11). Four players score in double figures for the Cardinals, led by 14.8 points per game from Jarron Coleman. Jaylin Sellers adds 13.3 points per game, Payton Sparks is averaging 12.6 points, and a team-best 8.2 rebounds, per contest while Demarius Jacobs is scoring 11.8 points per game.
Following Tuesday’s contest, NIU will return home on Saturday, Feb. 18, for its annual “Cram the Convo” doubleheader. The Huskie women’s basketball team will host Ball State at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s basketball team against Miami at 3:30. Tickets for “Cram the Convo” and all remaining home games are available now at NIUHuskies.com/tickets or by calling the NIU Athletics Ticket Office at (815) 753-PACK (7225).