Illinois State falls to Northern Iowa 72-59
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[February 25, 2014]
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa
— Illinois State cut its second-half deficit to single digits on
three separate occasions, but Missouri Valley Conference foe Northern
Iowa held off ISU's comeback attempt, and the Panthers (14-14, 8-8 MVC)
never trailed in a 72-59 win over the Redbirds (15-3, 8-8 MVC) on Sunday
afternoon at the McLeod Center.
The loss places ISU in a four-way tie for third place in the league
— with Missouri State, Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois
— with a home game Wednesday against Indiana State (21-7, 12-4
MVC) and a road contest Saturday at Southern Illinois (12-17, 8-8
Zach Lofton netted a career-best and game-high 24
points on a career-high eight field goals, including four
3-pointers, to lead the Redbirds. Reggie Lynch chipped in 10 points
with a team-best seven rebounds to match his career mark. Meanwhile,
Seth Tuttle led four Panthers in double figures with 18 points and
UNI shot 46.9 percent from the field compared with ISU's 41.2
percent clip, and rebounding was even at 30 boards for each team.
The Redbirds matched their season-best steals mark with 11 as
Illinois State outscored Northern Iowa 35-32 in the second half but
still came up short.
Northern Iowa established an early 10-0 lead in the first half,
with six points from Tuttle during the opening stretch, as the
Redbirds were held scoreless until Lofton's deep fadeaway
two-pointer at the 13:30 mark. Lofton's bucket sparked a 6-3 run to
pull within 13-6 with 11:15 remaining in the first half.
Back-to-back Lofton 3-pointers cut Illinois State's deficit to
[to top of second column]
The Panthers then proceeded to gain a 17-point advantage
— their largest of the game
— at the 7:33 mark; however, the Redbirds answered with a 6-0 run
on a pair of Lofton free throws and layups by Lofton and Jamaal
Samuel to pull within 31-20 with 6:28 remaining in the opening
stanza. UNI outscored ISU 7-2 to end the half, and the Panthers led
40-24 at the intermission.
In the second half, Illinois State outscored Northern Iowa 11-3
to pull within 47-38 at the 13:10 mark. After the Panthers regained
their double-digit lead, a Lofton 3-pointer pulled ISU within 10
points, 53-43, with 9:14 remaining.
The Redbirds trimmed their deficit to single digits two more
— on a Lofton 3-pointer to make the score 64-55 with 3:12 left
and on a Lynch layup that made the score 68-59 at the 1:38 mark. UNI
went on to net the final four points en route to the 72-59 victory.
With just two regular-season games remaining, Illinois State will
host Indiana State on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. for the final
regular-season home game on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
Tickets are available on
GoRedbirds.com, via phone at 309-438-8000 or in person at the
Illinois State Athletics ticket office.
news release received from
Illinois State University]