UNI men face key conference road game Thursday at Missouri State - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI men face key conference road game Thursday at Missouri State

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UNI looks for its first Missouri Valley Conference victory of the season Thursday night on the road at Missouri State.

The Panthers have lost their first two conference games, while the Bears are undefeated in conference play and have won 10 of their last 11 games.

Missouri State beat UNI, 70-64, in their most recent meeting last March, and leads the all-time series, 43-31

The UNI Sports Information Department  released this following information about the match up.  

UNI MEN'S BASKETBALL STORYLINES VS. MISSOURI STATE
• The University of Northern Iowa men's basketball team (8-6 overall, 0-2 MVC) will make its journey to Springfield, Missouri, to match up against the Missouri State Bears (12-3 overall, 2-0 MVC) on Thursday. Tip is set for 8 p.m. at JQH Arena.

• UNI head coach Ben Jacobson has posted a mark of 15-6 vs. Missouri State. Jacobson holds a record of 8-3 in games played in Springfield, Mo. Jacobson is 7-2 in JQH Arena.

• Thursday's game will feature the Missouri Valley Conference's top two rebounders in Missouri State's Alize Johnson (10.6 rpg) and UNI's Tywhon Pickford (8.9 rpg).

• It will also feature the top-three bench scorers in the MVC. Missouri State's Reggie Scurry leads the league in bench scoring at 9.9 ppg, while UNI's Wyatt Lohaus (9.1 ppg) and Spencer Haldeman(8.4 ppg) ranks No. 2 and No. 3 among players without a start this season.

• UNI has played the ninth-toughest schedule in nation. UNI's opponents have combined for a record of 101-53 (.656).

• Freshman Tywhon Pickford (6'4") is the nation's top rebounder (8.9 rpg) under 6'5". Pickford ranks No. 8 in the nation among all freshmen.

UNI MEN'S BASKETBALL NOTES VS. MISSOURI STATE

MISSOURI STATE BEARS
Missouri State has won 10 of its last 11 games after opening the season at 2-2.
    The Bears are 6-1 at home this season with their only loss coming Nov. 17 vs. North Dakota State, 57-54.
    Alize Johnson leads the Bears in scoring (14.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg).
    Missouri State is under the direction of sixth-year head coach Paul Lusk. Lusk began his collegiate playing career at the University of Iowa before breaking his leg and transferring to Southern Illinois. Lusk also gained his first year of head coaching experience in the state of Iowa at the University of Dubuque in the 2002-03 season.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. MISSOURI ST
Missouri State holds a 43-31 lead over UNI in the all-time series.
    UNI is 7-2 all-time at JQH Arena, while Panther head coach Ben Jacobson has posted a 16-7 record against Missouri State.
    The Bears won the rubber match last year between the two teams in the quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament, 70-64.

VALLEY'S TOP TWO REBOUNDERS
The top two rebounders in the Missouri Valley Conference will be in display Thursday when Missouri State's Alize Johnson and UNI's Tywhon Pickford take the floor.
    Johnson is averaging 10.6 rebounds per game, while Pickford is pulling down 8.9 rebounds per contest.

MVC'S BEST BENCH SCORERS
The top three bench scorers in the Missouri Valley Conference will also be in action Thursday at JQH Arena.
    Missouri State's Reggie Scurry (9.9 ppg) and UNI's Wyatt Lohaus (9.5 ppg) and Spencer Haldeman (8.4 ppg) are the top three scorers in the conference that have yet to start a game in 2017-18.

END IT AT HALFTIME
UNI has either been tied or has held the halftime lead in each of its last seven games. UNI has been ahead at the half in each of its first two Missouri Valley Conference games this season.

Last 7 Games - Halftime Scores, Final Scores
34-27 vs. UNLV (W, 77-68 OT)
29-25 vs. UT Arlington (W, 62-58)
47-19 vs. Dubuque (W, 80-47)
33-30 vs. Iowa State (L, 76-65)
29-29 vs. Xavier (L, 77-67)
25-22 vs. Southern Illinois (L, 56-53)
33-32 at Bradley (L, 72-53)

KOCH GOES AT A HIGH LEVEL
Senior Bennett Koch leads the Panthers in scoring (13.6 ppg), field goal% (57.0%), free throw% (80.3%) and blocked shots (10) through their first 14 games.
    Koch ranks second on the squad in rebounding (7.1 rpg).
    Koch poured in 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 10-of-12 at the foul line vs. No. 9-ranked Xavier (12/22).

Active 20-Plus Point Scoring Games
Bennett Koch (7)
Klint Carlson (3)
Hunter Rhodes (1)

NATION'S BEST REBOUNDER 
UNDER 6'5"
UNI freshman guard Tywhon Pickford is the nation's top rebounder under 6'5". Pickford (6'4") is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game. 
    UMass Lowell's Jahad Thomas (6'2") is the nation's next best rebounder under 6'5". Thomas is averaging 8.2 rebounds per contest.

FRESHMEN REBOUNDERS
UNI's Tywhon Pickford ranks No. 8 in the nation in rebounds among freshmen at 8.9 per game.

Freshman Rebounders
1.     Deandre Ayton (Arizona)    11.9
2.    Marvin Bagley III (Duke)    11.6
3.    Brandon McCoy (UNLV)    10.9
4.    Mohamed Bamba (Texas)    10.3
5.    Oshae Brissett (Syracuse)    9.9
6.    Eric Williams Jr. (Duquesne)    9.7
7.    Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke)    8.9
8.    Tywhon Pickford (UNI)    8.9
9.    Romello White (Arizona St.)    8.6
10.    Omari Spellman (Villanova)    8.1

PICKFORD TO THE GLASS
Pickford ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding (8.9 rpg). He ranks fifth in the MVC in offensive rebounds (32).
    Pickford has reached double figures in rebounds in six times this season.
    Pickford ranks fifth on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game.

MCCLOUD SOARS
UNI sophomore point guard Juwan McCloud leads the squad in assists (34) and steals (18). 
    McCloud ranks third on the team in scoring at 9.1 points per game. 
    McCloud has reached double-figure scoring six times this season. Last year, McCloud had four double-figure scoring games as a true freshman.
    McCloud has drained 17 three-pointers this season after making nine three-pointers during the 2016-17 season.

TWO SPARKS OFF THE BENCH
UNI is getting a pair of scoring bursts off the bench from junior Wyatt Lohaus and sophomore Spencer Haldeman.
    Lohaus is scoring 9.5 points per game, while Haldeman is averaging 8.4 points per game.
    Lohaus ranks second and Haldeman ranks third among MVC players in scoring without making a start this season.
    Missouri State's Reggie Scurry is averaging 9.9 points per game and has not started a game this year.

HALDEMAN ZONES IN
UNI sophomore guard Spencer Haldeman is draining 50 percent of his three-point shots this season.
    Haldeman has drained a 27-of-54 from three-point range. 
 
COUNTLESS 3-POINT BOMBERS
Through 14 games, UNI has five players who have made at least 14 3-pointers this season.
    Spencer Haldeman (27), Isaiah Brown (20), Juwan McCloud (17), Klint Carlson (14) and Tywhon Pickford (14) have all made at least 14 shots from 3-point land this season.
    UNI is averaging 8.2 made 3-pointers per game.

UNI'S 3-POINT STREAK
UNI has made at least one 3-pointer in 575 straight games – the longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Conference. It also ranks as the 32nd-longest active streak among all NCAA Division I teams.
    The last time UNI failed to make a 3-point basket came Feb. 3, 2000, vs. Southern Illinois in a 72-58 Panther victory in the UNI-Dome. UNI went 0-for-4 from 3-point land vs. the Salukis in that contest.

RESUME BUILDING
UNI built a strong resume during its non-conference play with a mark of 8-4. 
    The Panthers posted wins over SMU (61-58), North Carolina State (64-60), UNLV (77-68 OT) and UT Arlington (62-58).

NINTH-TOUGHEST SCHEDULE
UNI has played the ninth-toughest schedule in nation. UNI's opponents have combined for a record of 101-53 (.656). 

Rk.    Team    W/L (Pct.)
1.    Savannah State    111-44 (.716)
2.    Temple    113-47 (.706)
3.    Texas Southern    124-53 (.701)
4.    Duke    116-51 (.695)
5.    Dayton    104-46 (.693)
6.    Tennessee    95-45 (.679)
7.    Buffalo    100-50 (.667)
8.    Alabama    108-55 (.663)
9.    UNI    101-53 (.656)
10.    USC    112-62 (.644)

UNI IN NCAA RPI STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RANKING
UNI's non-conference schedule was ranked No. 9 in the nation in the NCAA RPI listing.

NCAA Non-Conf. Strength of Schedule
1.    Texas Southern
2.    Savannah State
3.    Temple
4.    Dayton
5.    Buffalo
6.    Duke
7.     New Orleans
8.     Rhode Island
9.     UNI
10.     Prairie View

NO. 11 IN SCORING DEFENSE
UNI ranks No. 11 in the nation in scoring defense. The Panthers are giving up 61.0 points per game.
    
Rk.    Team    Pts Allowed/Game
1.    Virginia    52.8
2.    Texas Tech    58.2
3.    Miami (Fla.)    58.5
4.    SMU    58.9
5.    Cincinnati    59.1
6.    Rutgers    59.5
7.    UCF    60.5
8.    Michigan    60.7
9.    Bradley    60.7
10.    Old Dominion    60.8
11.    UNI    61.0

NO. 11 IN FEWEST FOULS
UNI is ranked No. 11 in the nation in fewest fouls per game (14.9). 
    Fellow MVC squad Loyola is tied with UNI at No. 7 with 14.5 fouls per game.

Rk.    Team    Fouls/Game
1.    Notre Dame    13.1
2.    Elon    13.3
3.    Western Illinois    13.7
4.    George Washington    13.7
5.    Michigan    14.1
6.    Central Michigan    14.4
7.    Loyola    14.5
8.    Virginia    14.6
9.    Kansas    14.7
10.    Mississippi St.    14.8
11.    UNI    14.9

NO. 21 IN FG% DEFENSE
UNI is ranked No. 21 in the nation in field goal percentage defense (38.5).

EIGHT NCAA TRIPS FOR UNI
UNI made its eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2016. The Panthers are 5-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. 

UNI's All-Time NCAA Tourney Results
1990 - W, 74-71 vs. #3 Missouri
1990 - L, 84-81 vs. #6 Minnesota
2004 - L, 65-60 vs. #3 Georgia Tech
2005 - L, 57-52 vs. #6 Wisconsin
2006 - L, 54-49 vs. #7 Georgetown
2009 - L, 61-56 vs. #5 Purdue
2010 - W, 69-66 vs. #8 UNLV
2010 - W, 69-67 vs. #1 Kansas
2010 - L, 59-52 vs. #5 Michigan State
2015 - W, 71-54 vs. #12 Wyoming
2015 - L, 66-53 vs. #4 Louisville
2016 - W, 75-72 vs. #6 Texas
2016 - L, 92-88 (2OT) vs. #3 Texas A&M

7TH NCAA TOURNEY SINCE 2004
The Panthers have made seven NCAA appearances since the 2004 season. Only 27 other teams have made more than seven NCAA Tournament appearances since 2004.
    That is the most NCAA Tournament apperance since 2004 for any current member of the MVC. New MVC member Valparaiso has made three NCAA Tournaments in that same time frame (2004, 2013, 2015).    

Current MVC NCAA Appearances Since 2004
UNI (7) - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016
Southern Illinois (4) - 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Valparaiso (3) - 2004, 2013, 2015
Indiana State (1) - 2011
Drake (1) - 2008
Bradley (1) - 2006

TOP-FOUR FINISHES IN MVC
UNI extended its streak of top-four finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference to a ninth straight season with its third-place finish in 2016-17.

IN THE UPPER HALF
UNI recorded its 14th straight upper-half finish Missouri Valley Conference.
    It is the longest active streak in the league.
    Prior to the 2003-04 season, when the current streak began, UNI had finished in the top half of the MVC on two occasions (1993-94 - 5th, 1996-97 - 4th) since joining the league in 1991-92. 

14 STRAIGHT YEARS OF 9 OR MORE MVC WINS
UNI also extended its streak of nine or more MVC victories in a season to 14 straight years. It is the longest active streak in the league.

UNI in the MVC Since 2003-04
2003-04 - 12-6 (T-2nd)
2004-05 - 11-7 (T-3rd)
2005-06 - 11-7 (T-5th)
2006-07 - 9-9 (5th)
2007-08 - 9-9 (T-5th)
2008-09 - 14-4 (T-1st)
2009-10 - 15-3 (1st)
2010-11 - 10-8 (T-4th)
2011-12 - 9-9 (T-3rd)
2012-13 - 11-7 (3rd)
2013-14 - 10-8 (3rd)
2014-15 - 16-2 (2nd)
2015-16 - 11-7 (T-4th)
2016-17 - 9-9 (T-3rd)

PANTHERS PICKED SECOND IN MVC PRESEASON POLL
UNI has been slotted to finish second in the preseason 2017-18 Missouri Valley Conference poll.
    UNI received eight first-place votes in the preseason poll. It is the most preseason first-place votes in a year that the Panthers were not picked as the preseason favorites.

MVC Preseason Poll
School (First-Place Votes) Total
1.    Missouri State (30)    381
2.    UNI (8)        337
3.    Loyola (1)        321
4.    Illinois State (1)        256
5.    Southern Illinois        226
6.    Valparaiso        214
7.    Bradley        182
8.    Indiana State        116
9.    Evansville        88
10.    Drake        79

KOCH, CARLSON EARN ALL-MVC PRESEASON HONORS
University of Northern Iowa seniors Bennett Koch and Klint Carlson have been named to the Preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference teams.
    Koch earned first-team all-MVC honors, while Carlson was selected to the second team. 
    Koch is UNI's top returning scorer at 11.0 points per game. In his last 14 games last season, Koch averaged a team-best 14.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game. 
    Carlson averaged more points per game for the third consecutive season (8.3 ppg). He ranked No. 4 in the league at 36.6 minutes per game.

JACOBSON AGAINST THE LAND OF LINCOLN
Ben Jacobson has taken full advantage of the four schools representing the state of Illinois in the Missouri Valley Conference in his 12 seasons as UNI's head coach. 
    He has an overall mark of 62-30 vs. Southern Illinois, Illinois State, Bradley and Loyola. 

Jake Overall vs. MVC's Illinois Schools
Bradley     21-7
Southern Illinois    18-8
Illinois State     17-10
Loyola     6-5

COACH JAKE AMONG THE MVC'S ALL-TIME BEST
UNI head coach Ben Jacobson ranks No. 6 in MVC coaching victories with 242 triumphs heading into Sunday's game at Bradley.
    Jacobson ranks No. 7 in league history in MVC games only with 123 wins.
    Henry Iba tops both lists with 486 total wins and 187 league wins.

MVC Coaching Victories
1.     Henry P. Iba (Oklahoma State)    486
2.     Eddie Hickey (Creighton/St. Louis)    337
3.     Dana Altman (Creighton)    327
4.    Gregg Marshall (Wichita State)    261
5.    Barry Hinson (Missouri State/SIU)    257
6.    Ben Jacobson (UNI)    242
7.    Rich Herrin (Southern Illinois)    225
8.    Ralph Miller (Wichita State)    220
9.    Maury John (Drake)    211
10.    Joe Stowell (Bradley)    197

MVC Coaching Wins (Conf. Games Only)
1.     Henry P. Iba (Oklahoma State)     187
2.     Dana Altman (Creighton)     182
3.     Eddie Hickey (Creighton/St. Louis)     163
4.    Barry Hinson (Missouri State/SIU)     135
5.    Gregg Marshall (Wichita State)     134
6.     Dr. F.C. Allen (Kansas)     126
7.    Ben Jacobson (UNI)     123
8.     Rich Herrin (Southern Illinois)     111
9.     Jim Molinari (Bradley)     110
10.    Maurice John (Drake)     95
 

BROADCAST INFORMATION
Television
CBS Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Brent Stover
Analyst: Bob Wenzel
The game can be streamed by going to to cbssports.com/watch/cbssportsnetwork and choosing your TV provider.

Radio, TuneIn App
Panther Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Gary Rima
Analyst: Kevin Boyle
Flagship Station - KXEL 1540-AM
On the Web - www.UNIPanthers.com

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