|Redbirds fall to Panthers on the road|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Sunday, 12 February 2012 18:34|
Three-point baskets were the thorn in the Redbirds’ side as Northern Iowa denied ISU men’s basketball head coach Tim Jankovich his 100th win with the 'Birds Saturday night at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
UNI tied its season high of 12 three-pointers in its 78-63 victory over the Redbirds, whom fell in their fifth-straight Missouri Valley Conference road game in front of a 5,323-person crowd.
“Our whole thing coming in was we had to play very well against the three-point shot, and obviously we didn’t do that,” Jankovich said on WJBC radio after the game. “[The Panthers] present some problems, all their big guys are three-point shooters, so you have some real issues on how they stretch the floor, they basically have five shooters … certainly the reason we lost the game is because they shot so well.”
The Panthers (17-10, 7-8 MVC) sealed their win early in the second half, kicking it off with a 7-2 run, extending their lead to 47-36 with 18:22 remaining.
After a jumper by Jon Ekey, bringing the 'Birds (16-10, 8-7 MVC) within seven, UNI began to run away with a 6-0 run at the 9:26 marker to bring its lead to 61-46.
From that point, ISU was unable to come within 10 points of its MVC opponent, allowing the Panthers to extend as far as 17 points before closing regulations with a 15-point victory.
“Our effort was very good, but our execution was not great,” Jankovich said. “We’ve been an anomaly in that if you look at our defensive percentages at home and on the road, they’re so different, it’s like we can’t get in our rhythm like we do at home on the defensive end.”
In the first half, it was a closer battle between the Redbirds and Panthers as the lead changed six times and the score was tied seven times.
However, UNI used an 8-0 run with 4:06 remaining to build a four-point lead, 34-40, before closing the half ahead of ISU, 40-34.
In the first 20 minutes, the Panthers went 8-for-11 from three-point range, with nearly every player hitting a basket behind the arch.
“You’re going to have disappointments, it’s part of the process in sports, that pain is what you go through to become good or great,” Jankovich said. “We’re disappointed, but it makes us stronger and hungrier, and that’s the only way I want them to look at it.”
Despite UNI’s success in deep territory, ISU’s Bryant Allen and Jackie Carmichael had some offensive success. Allen dropped 17 points, while Carmichael added 14 points with 13 rebounds, marking his ninth double-double of the season.
Trey Blue filled in for Anthony Cousin, who was out with a sprained ankle. He added six points for the 'Birds.
“You never know what can happen, just how Anthony hurt his ankle, you just have to keep a positive attitude and keep rolling everyday,” Blue said.
ISU will return to action on the road against Indiana State Tuesday night in Terre Haute, Ind., at 6:05 p.m.