When the Northern Iowa Panthers (22-5, 11-4 MVC) got on the bus and traveled to Terre Haute, they had no idea they would travel back to Iowa licking their wounds after a, 67-64 setback.
A slow start last week against Missouri State caused the Indiana State Sycamores (15-11, 8-7 MVC) their first home loss of the season. Thursday night, the Sycamores started fast as they 45 percent from the field, 44 percent from the 3-point line, and 2-2 from the free throw line. The Panthers started off slower than usual as they only shot 25 percent from the field and 14 percent from the 3-point line in the first half.
“Our pace in the last couple games that we’ve been losing hasn’t been too well,” Sycamore freshman guard/forward Jake LaRavia said. “I think we picked it up especially in the first half tonight.”
LaRavia stood out against Northern Iowa as he tied for the lead in scoring with junior guard Tyreke Key. They both had 18 points. LaRavia went 66 percent from the field and 50 percent for 3-point attempts. Key went 6-for-12 from the field and 4-for-8 from deep.
On Northern Iowa’s end, sophomore guard Aj Green was a force against ISU as he led his team in scoring with 21 points.
“Aj Green is as good as any other guard I’ve seen in this league,” Indiana State Men’s Head basketball Coach Greg Lansing said. “Too bad we’ve got to see him a couple more years here.”
Northern Iowa won the battle under the rim as it outrebounded Indiana State 40-31. UNI’s junior guard Tywhon Pickford led his team in rebounds with 10. LaRavia was the leading rebounder for Indiana State as he snatched 7 rebounds Thursday night.
Offensively Indiana State was on fire as they hit 11 3-point shots.
“Last couple of games we lacked being aggressive on the offensive end and executing well,” Key said. “For the most part we did tonight and it paid off.”
Indiana State’s home record is now 11-1, while Northern Iowa falls to 7-4 on the road. The sycamores are 15-11 overall and 8-7 in the conference while Northern Iowa is now 22-5 and 11-4 in the conference.