Northern Iowa (9-7) at Southern Illinois (5-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 14, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,500) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: UNI 6-0, SIU 3-4. Away Record: UNI 1-5, SIU 1-6. Neutral Record: UNI 2-2, SIU 1-2. Conference Record: UNI 3-1, SIU 1-3. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 29-23.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Iowa Panthers shoot for just their second true road win of the season tonight, as they battle the Southern Illinois Salukis in Missouri Valley Conference action at SIU Arena.
It wasn't until Jan. 8 and an 80-53 rout of Evansville that the Panthers secured their first road win of the season, so now the program is trying to make it two such victories in less than a week. Over the weekend, UNI posted a 76-66 win over Drake, which means the squad has now posted four triumphs in the last five outings overall.
Unfortunately for the Salukis, no matter if they are home or away, wins have still been very hard to come by this season. Sporting an overall mark of just 5-12, SIU is currently 1-3 in conference play after falling to Evansville on Saturday by a score of 75-69. The defeat was the fourth in five games for the Salukis.
SIU leads the all-time series by a count of 29-23, but in recent years the Panthers have closed a considerable gap by claiming victory in nine of the last 11 meetings.
Trailing by seven midway through the first half, the Panthers survived just 3- of-14 shooting from behind the 3-point line in the period to actually claim a 37-34 lead at the break and eventually captured the double-digit win at home. Deon Mitchell and Wes Washpun both dropped in 17 points, Matt Bohannon and Seth Tuttle chipped in 11 points apiece, and Nate Buss came off the bench to supply another 10 points for the home team in a meeting that featured six ties and 10 lead changes.
Keeping the same starting lineup for all four MVC outings, it should not come as a surprise that four of those players are the ones leading the program in scoring. A balanced attack for sure, Tuttle is putting up 13.0 ppg and is first on the glass with 8.8 rpg, while the trio of Mitchell, Bohannon and Washpun are all responsible for 12.5 ppg, the threesome combining to shoot 23- of-47 beyond the arc.
The Salukis led by as many as 10 points against Evansville at home on Saturday afternoon, but that wasn't nearly enough to push the hosts into the win column. Mike Balogun scored a team-best 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting behind the 3-point line, followed by Desmar Jackson with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Anthony Beane accounted for 10 points, as the team shot only 7- of-25 beyond the arc on the day.
Over the course of four conference games, Jackson is scoring an impressive 20.5 ppg, although he has shot just 2-of-13 beyond the arc in those outings. Jalen Pendleton is the only other player scoring in double figures in league action, generating 10.3 ppg as the team produces just 63.8 ppg, compared to the 72.5 ppg tallied by the competition. Those opponents have converted an impressive 42.3 percent out on the perimeter, compared to only 30.8 percent for SIU.
Clearly Jackson has the potential to light up the scoreboard for the Salukis, but considering Northern Iowa has so many options to turn to, the Panthers are the ones who make it difficult to match up defensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 72, Southern Illinois 63
01/14 10:33:11 ET