The game wasn’t pretty by any means, but the Northern Iowa Panthers were able to pull away late in the second half against the Missouri State Bears. It took the Panthers almost six minutes to get their first field goal of the game. The good thing for the Panthers though is that the Bears had an equally bad shooting night.
In fact, Missouri State was held them only 27% shooting from the field. They were also able to hold them to 14% from the three point line. This was a Ben Jacobson defensive game, as they were able to lock them down from start to finish. The Panthers held the Bears’ leading scorer Anthony Downing to only nine points, five under his season average. As for the Panthers themselves, senior guard Anthony James once again paced the way.
Overall, it comes down to the defensive end for the Panthers. They aren’t going to be scoring in the 60’s and 70’s every game. What they will do is simply defend for the entire shot clock. If teams allow them to dictate the pace of the game like what happened on Tuesday night then they can be successful from here on out. I look for the Panthers to play a key role this conference race as they still have to play Creighton at home.
I believe they can win out and possibly finish as high as third in the conference. If they want to do that however, they will have to play like they did on the defensive end this past Saturday.