Northern Iowa (13-13) at Drake (13-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 18, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Knapp Center (7,002) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: FS-MW. Home Record: UNI 9-2, Drake 7-5. Away Record: UNI 2-9, Drake 4-7. Neutral Record: UNI 2-2, Drake 2-1. Conference Record: UNI 7-7, Drake 4-10. Series Record: Northern Iowa leads, 40-23.
GAME NOTES: Northern Iowa shoots for a three-game win streak for the first time this season, as the Panthers tangle with the Drake Bulldogs in Missouri Valley Conference action at the Knapp Center in Des Moines.
Since losing three straight decisions against the likes of Indiana State, Illinois State and undefeated Wichita State, the Panthers have captured back- to-back victories for the first time since the second week of January. Most recently, the team slipped by Missouri State on the road, 60-58, on Saturday night to move to an even 7-7 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs may have the same overall record as UNI (13-13), but the team is tied with the likes of Evansville and Loyola-Chicago for last place in the MVC standings at just 4-10. On a more positive note, Drake did snap a four-game slide over the weekend with a 70-62 triumph versus Loyola- Chicago at home.
UNI won the first meeting of the season last month at home by a score of 76-66, as Deon Mitchell and Wes Washpun both delivered 17 points for the hosts and Drake was paced by Jordan Daniels with a game-high 18 points. With the victory, the Panthers moved to 40-23 in the all-time series.
The only tie of the game between Missouri State and UNI took place in the final minute of regulation, which means the jumper by Seth Tuttle in the waning moments pushed the Panthers over the edge for the win. Tuttle finished the meeting 9-of-12 from the floor for a game-high 21 points, clearing nine rebounds, but he was the only one in double figures for the visitors as they survived a disappointing 12-of-20 effort at the free-throw line.
As a starter in all 26 games for the Panthers this season, it only makes sense that Tuttle is the top overall scorer for the program with 14.7 ppg, shooting a solid 50.4 percent from the floor. Not only is Tuttle the leading offensive performer for UNI, he is also first on the glass with 8.0 rpg and has notched a team-high 29 blocked shots. Mitchell (12.6 ppg), Nate Buss (11.0 ppg) and Matt Bohannon (10.0 ppg) also play important roles at the offensive end of the floor.
Drake led by double figures for much of the game against the Ramblers on Saturday, but in the final minute of regulation the margin was just three points before the Bulldogs again pulled away. Richard Carter posted a team- best 20 points, the ninth time this season he has logged at least as many points for the program, while Daniels pitched in with 12 points and Seth VanDeest eight and 12 boards.
Not only is Carter the leading scorer for the Bulldogs at this stage of the campaign with his 16.9 ppg, he is also the one most responsible for getting his teammates involved in the action as well with 93 assists as well. Daniels (11.1 ppg) has missed several games and is mostly a reserve for the program, but still brings some scoring punch with his 48.2 percent effort behind the 3- point line.
The fact that Drake almost lost to the Ramblers should say something about where the Bulldogs are right now. Even though this is a road game for UNI, that Panthers should still feel at home as they pick up the win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 73, Drake 63
02/18 10:32:34 ET