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NIU

NIU Men's basketball preview: Huskies vs. Kent State

NIU guard Darius Beane (24) shoots a three pointer against Eastern Michigan Eagles guard Darion Spottsville (10) in DeKalb Jan. 11.
NIU guard Darius Beane (24) shoots a three pointer against Eastern Michigan Eagles guard Darion Spottsville (10) in DeKalb Jan. 11.

Tip-off: 6 p.m. Tuesday at Kent State's Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

Records: NIU, 9-9, 2-3 in Mid-American Conference; Kent State 13-5, 3-2 in MAC.

All-time series: Kent State leads 38-21. The Golden Flashes won the game last year 78-68.

Who to watch: Eugene German enters at a MAC-leading 20.2 points per game, but hasn't been efficient his last few games out, posting shooting totals of 6 of 22 in a 72-49 loss to Akron and 6 of 19 on in a 66-64 loss to Bowling Green. Troy Simons, a new face for the Golden Flashes who transferred from New Mexico, averages 13.3. points per game and 3.1 made 3-pointers per game, the latter which is second in the MAC.

The lowdown: After a strong 3-0 start to MAC play with wins over Bowling Green, Toledo and Central Michigan, the Golden Flashes have lost consecutive road games. Kent State mounts a relatively balanced offensive attack, with four players averaging at least 13.3 points per game. The Golden Flashes shoot a MAC-best 46.1% from the floor. The Huskies enter having lost consecutive games and look to get back to above .500 overall and get to .500 in the MAC.

Key to the game: The Huskies have to be the more aggressive team offensively on the road, not meaning playing quicker, but must get downhill, attack the basket, and not settle for contested shots. NIU's Trendon Hankerson was more aggressive offensively in the loss to Bowling Green, scoring 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting, and Lacey James has helped jumpstart the Huskies' offense when NIU has pressed the issue to establish him in the post early in the game.

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