I came out of the Convo today with a look of confusion.
What had I just seen with my own two eyes? Could that have been NIU Basketball? A 78-62 blowout victory for my Huskies? How is this possible?
Enough with the questions, the Ricardo Patton era of basketball is in full swing after a HUGE victory against our rivals in Toledo. They talked about the rivalry against Toledo a bunch on the radio. Ricardo even found out about it during the week.
Gone is the Rob Judson era, where players would just pass the ball around the perimeter, not attacking the basket and just not being athletic whatsoever. Judson never improved his teams throughout the season. 2 games into conference season, you can already see the improvement by Ricardo Patton's squad.
Gone is Judson's players barely scoring more than 10 points in every game and never holding on to the ball. In comes Ricardo Patton's high flying team scoring at will and 3 guys scoring in double digits. All the talent has been brought out of whatever Judson gave us. I remember watching the highlights from some Judson years, and I almost fell asleep. This team doesn't do that to me.
I have always been embarrassed to go to NIU Basketball games, or even ask my friends to go. With today's victory, I don't feel that way anymore. If we win on Wednesday against EMU, I don't have any doubt in my mind to invite more people to the games and encourage people to show up at the game. This was an unbelievable victory that will hopefully impact the way the rest of the season will be played.
Memorable moments included Jarvis Nichols hit 3 3-pointers in a row towards the end of the 2nd half. Also Jake "Don't call me Darion" Anderson had a HUGE dunk that rocked the Convo. Anderson also had 10 rebounds.
Notable performances were from Jarvis Nichols with 21 pts, and Sean Smith with 18. Smith has such a pretty shot. Shaun Logan played gritty, dishing out 6 assists and fouling out and coming on to the bench with a standing O. Bristan Kelley did the dirty work in the paint scoring 11 points. We only turned it over 13 times in this game, which was key for a victory.
It was nice to see Sean Smith get his academics together and come back to play this game. He is a phenomenal player and will continue to improve adjusting from JUCO to D-I. Ben Rand was out with a sore foot.
So here is the current inactives...
Michael Fakuade - Redshirting as a Freshman Lee Fisher - Redshirting as a Freshman Sean Kowal - Sitting year out as Soph transfer from Colorado
"Judson Guys" Darrius Gaters - Out for academic reasons Zach Pancrantz - Out for season because of shoulder surgery Ryan Paradise - Decided to end career because of broken nose/December graduation Cody Yelder - Out for academic reasons
So here's a tally of post-HS experience on this team in order of most minutes played:
32 Jake Anderson, Fr - Spent 1 year at a prep-school improving his academics 25 Shaun Logan, Sr - Played for NIU LY and JUCO the 2 previous years 3 Jarvis Nichols, Jr - Redshirted LY and JUCO the 2 previous years 21 Egan Grafel, Sr - Barely played last year for NIU and JUCO the 2 previous years 24 Jeremy Landers, Fr - None, True Freshman 12 Sean Smith, Jr - JUCO the 2 past years 4 Michael Patton, Fr - None, True Freshman 10 Michael Hart, Sr - Played for D-III Carthage and at the Rec Center 2 Najul Ervin, So - Played 1 year of JUCO 31 Bristan Kelley, So - Played for NIU LY
Attendance tally for the season:
SFA - 1,141 Lamar - 1,042 Air Force - 1,169 UALR - 2,164 Toledo - 2,138