Central Michigan (8-19, 3-10 Mid-American)
Northern Illinois (3-23, 2-11 Mid-American)
Sunday, February 26 | 2 p.m. | Mount Pleasant, Mich. | McGuirk Arena (5,300)
Radio: WCFX-FM 95.3 & WUPS-FM 98.5 — Don Chiodo and Don Helinski
Television: Sports Time Ohio — Michael Reghi and Steve Mix
Live Audio: CMU Sports Zone (free) — cmuchippewas.com
Live Video Webcast: CMU Sports Zone (subscription) — cmuchippewas.com
The final week of the regular season begins on Sunday as Central Michigan hosts Northern Illinois in a televised game on Sports Time Ohio. Tipoff in McGuirk Arena is set for 2 p.m.
The Huskies won the first meeting this season, 74-66, in DeKalb.
Former CMU assistant coach Mark Montgomery is in his first season as head coach at NIU. The Huskies have seven freshmen on the roster, including three listed as probable starters.
||MAC's second-leading freshman scorer (10.4)
||Scored 16 points in the first meeting with NIU
|| Trey Zeigler
||Scored a career-high 33 points at Toledo on Wednesday
||Made second career start at Toledo and tied a career high with five points
|| Andre Coimbra
||Held to single digits in six straight games
NEWS AND NOTESSeries History
NIU leads the all-time series, 51-45. NIU won the earlier meeting this year, 74-66, after the Chippewas swept the series last season.
• CMU head coach Ernie Zeigler is 10-2 (.833) all-time against Northern Illinois. He has experienced more wins versus NIU than any other MAC school and the .833 winning percentage is also tops versus league foes. He started his career with eight straight wins over the Huskies before NIU posted a two-point win in DeKalb in 2010.
Northern Illinois drained 10 first-half 3-pointers in a 74-66 victory over Central Michigan on Saturday in DeKalb on Jan. 14. Huskie freshmen Abdel Nader and Stian Berg shot a combined 9-for-9 from the arc while finishing with 22 and 12 points, respectively. The Chippewas had four players in double figures with Trey Zeigler posting 18 points, Derek Jackson 16, Austin McBroom 15 and Olivier Mbaigoto 11. NIU shot .550 from the field for the game compared to CMU’s .370 and the Huskies finished shooting 63 percent from the arc for the game.
Northern Illinois Ties
• First-year NIU head coach Mark Montgomery was a CMU assistant coach for four seasons from 1998 to 2001. He helped lead the Chippewas to the 2001 MAC championship and a worst-to-first finish after CMU was just 6-23 (2-16 MAC) in 2000. Montgomery worked with the Chippewa perimeter players and helped David Webber earn MAC Player of the Year honors and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America laurels in 2001. Webber led the MAC in scoring that year with 18.4 points per game. He finished his career ranked third on CMU’s career scoring list with 1,774 points.
• NIU assistant coach Jon Borovich was a four-year letterwinner at CMU and a senior on the 2001 MAC championship team. He started 59 career games in the Maroon and Gold, including 24 as a freshman. He was the 2000 recipient of CMU’s prestigious Bill Boyden Leadership Award, presented annually to one CMU student-athlete.
Trey Zeigler’s career-high 33 points weren’t enough to lead Central Michigan to a comeback at Toledo on Wednesday. The host Rockets won, 72-67, as CMU tried erasing an 11-point deficit in the final five and a half minutes of the game. The Chippewas used a 9-0 run to get within a bucket late, but UT made its free throws down the stretch. The game featured 19 lead changes in the first 29 minutes before the Rockets took the lead for good. Derek Jackson added 12 points for CMU while the Rockets were led by freshman Julius Brown’s 29 points. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field with the Rockets hitting 58 percent while CMU made 52 percent.
Trey Zeigler’s 33 points at Toledo were the most by a Chippewa since Giordan Watson scored 34 in an overtime game against Buffalo on Feb. 2, 2008. The last time a CMU player had more points in regulation was when Watson had 34 against Buffalo in the MAC Tournament in Cleveland on March 7, 2007.
• Zeigler’s 33 points were a MAC single-game high for conference play this year. Bowling Green’s A’uston Calhoun and Toledo’s Rian Pearson shared the previous MAC high while Toledo’s Julius Brown also had 29 for the Rockets on Wednesday against CMU. Calhoun had 29 versus Buffalo while Pearson hit the mark at Akron.
Freshman of the Year Candidate
Freshman point guard Austin McBroom is making a bid for MAC Freshman of the Year honors. In MAC play only, the North Hollywood, Calif., native ranks second among freshmen in scoring (11.1) and among all league players in conference action, McBroom ranks fourth in the league in free throw percentage (.861), is tied for sixth in 3-pointers made (2.1) and ranks 11th in 3-point percentage (.397). His overall scoring average of 10.4 points per game ranks third among league freshmen.
A Win with Limited FT Attempts
The Chippewas defeated Eastern Michigan on Feb. 14 despite the fact that they made just three free throws in the game. It’s pretty rare for CMU to win when making less than 10 freebies. Since 2000, the Chippewas are 13-72 (.153) when making nine or fewer free throws.
Sophomore Trey Zeigler is closing in on 1,000 career points. He enters the Northern Illinois game with 941 points and is averaging 16.1 points per game. If he maintains his average for the rest of the year, Zeigler would reach 1,000 points in CMU’s first-round MAC Tournament game.
• Zeigler is looking to become the 28th member of CMU’s 1,000-point club and the first since Jordan Bitzer and Robbie Harman both joined during the 2010 season.
• Zeigler is looking to become the first Chippewa to ever hit the 1,000-point plateau as a sophomore. Ben Kelso scored exactly 1,000 points in his first two seasons, but they were as a sophomore and a junior as he played in an era when freshmen were not eligible. Dan Majerle scored 801 points his freshman and sophomore seasons but he only played in 12 games his freshman year because of injury. He was averaging 18.6 points as a freshman and missed 15 games that year. Junior college transfer Ervin Leavy scored 1,003 points in his first two seasons as a Chippewa, but it was his junior and senior years.
Freshman Double-Figure Scorer
Freshman point guard Austin McBroom is averaging in double figures with 10.4 points per game. He is looking to become just the fourth CMU freshman to average in double figures in the last 15 years. The three to accomplish the feat in that span are Trey Zeigler (16.3 ppg) last year, Giordan Watson (10.3) in 2005 and Mike Manciel (17.5) in 1999.
Freshman Austin McBroom has drained 48 3-pointers this season and he is on track to turn in one of the top 3-point performances by a freshman in CMU history. Ryan Jansen holds the freshman record with 69 treys in 1995 while Sander Scott hit 56 in 1990 en route to MAC All-Freshman Team honors.
In just his second season at CMU, senior JUCO transfer Andre Coimbra has recorded 62 career blocks. He needs 12 more to join CMU’s career top 10 list and tie Dennis Kann’s (1989-92) career total of 74.
Stealing a Record?
Sophomore Derek Jackson has 49 steals on the year while averaging 1.8 per game. He needs two steals to tie for eighth on CMU’s single season chart. The CMU single season record is 63 set by Dave Grauzer in 1979.
Trey Zeigler recorded the sixth double-double of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Bowling Green. It marked just his second double-double against a MAC opponent. He also had one against Eastern Michigan this year. Andre Coimbra is the only other active Chippewa with a double-double in his career. Coimbra notched his lone double dip last season at Eastern Michigan.
.400 is the Magic Mark
The Chippewas held the opposition below .400 shooting from the floor in each of the first six games this season but the last 21 opponents have all shot .400 or better.
• CMU is 30-11 (.732) under Ernie Zeigler when holding the opponent under 40 percent.
The Chippewas have now dropped six straight overtime games and stand 3-8 in extra sessions under head coach Ernie Zeigler. The Chippewas are 2-1 in multiple-overtime games under the current Chippewa mentor.
• Two Chippewas were high school teammates of National Player of the Year honorees. Austin McBroom played his freshman season at Campbell Hall High School with 2008 Gatorade Player of the Year Jrue Holiday (UCLA/Philadelphia 76ers). Austin Keel played his senior season at Winter Park High School with 2011 Naismith Prep Player of the Year Austin Rivers (Duke).
• CMU signed 6-8, 210-pound forward John Simons (Cadillac, Mich./Cadillac HS) to a National Letter of Intent during the early signing period. As a junior at Cadillac High School, Simons averaged 23 points and eight rebounds while leading the Vikings to a 20-5 record and a Class B regional championship. He was named second team all-state by the Detroit Free Press.
New MAC Tournament Format
The Mid-American Conference Tournament had some drastic changes made to the format for this season. Most notably is the fact that the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receive byes to the semifinals while the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds receive byes to the quarterfinals. Also, seeding will be based on conference winning percentage, regardless of division. So this year, the top two seeds could come from the same division. Seeds No. 5 through No. 12 will play first round games on campus sites with those four winners advancing to the second round in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.