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Northern Iowa (7-7) at Evansville (7-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Center (11,000) -- Evansville, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Northern Iowa 5-0, Evansville 6-3. Away Record: Northern Iowa 0-5, Evansville 1-5. Neutral Record: Northern Iowa 2-2, Evansville 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Iowa 1-1, Evansville 0-2. Series Record: Evansville leads, 23-19.
GAME NOTES: Northern Iowa will try to end a pair of skids on Wednesday night, as the Panthers take on Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville at the Ford Center.
The Panthers aim to snap a five-game slide against the Purple Aces. The last time Northern Iowa beat Evansville was on Jan. 4, 2011 at the McLeod Center. Evansville has won the last three meetings by a total of seven points. UNI is 0-5 on the road this season, and has dropped its last six away contests going back to its last win on Feb. 19, 2013 versus Missouri State.
Northern Iowa was dominated by No. 8 Wichita State, 67-53, on Sunday. Deon Mitchell led Northern Iowa with 16 points, while Jeremy Morgan registered seven points off the bench for the Panthers, who were coming off an 80-46 win over Bradley in their conference opener.
The Panthers are averaging 70.9 ppg, which is their the highest mark since the 2001-02 season. Leading the way is Mitchell (13.4 ppg), a junior point guard who is pacing the team with 16 steals. Seth Tuttle (12.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg) is on top of the MVC in rebounding. Reserve junior forward Nate Buss (10.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) leads the team in field goal percentage (.569). Chip Rank (7.8 ppg), Wes Washpun (7.7 ppg) and Matt Bohannon (7.6 ppg) are also part of the starting lineup on a team that is second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.418). UNI has made at least one 3-pointer in 443 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Evansville has lost two straight and five of its last six contests. That includes an 81-62 home defeat to Indiana State this past Saturday. D.J. Balentine led the Purple Aces with 23 points on 8-of-15 from the field. Jaylon Moore scored 14 points, and Egidijus Mockevicius grabbed 10 rebounds.
Balentine paces the MVC and is among the top-10 scorers in the nation at 22.7 ppg. The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard, who is 30-of-71 from 3-point range, is part of the fourth-youngest team in Division I as a pair of freshmen and three sophomores comprise the starting lineup for the Purple Aces. Mockevicius (9.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), a sophomore center from Lithuania, is second in the MVC in rebounding. Adam Wing (8.7 ppg), Blake Simmons (8.3 ppg) and Duane Simmons (7.6 ppg) are also part of the starting lineup. The defining stat for the Purple Aces is 50 percent. When they make at least half of their field goal attempts they are 7-0, but 0-8 when firing at worse than 50 percent.
The Purple Aces have won their last four home contests against the Panthers. Evansville is 16-5 as the host versus UNI, the best record for the Purple Aces against any MVC opponent. Evansville needs to keep Tuttle off the boards and get a good performance from Balentine's supporting cast to keep UNI winless on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Evansville 71, Northern Iowa 66
01/08 10:32:35 ET
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