By: Sammy Stava
Northern Iowa was in unfamiliar territory to start this year’s Arch Madness – playing on a Thursday night of the MVC Tournament, taking on 10 seeded Illinois State. It has been a trying season for Ben Jacobson and the Panthers as they lost last year’s MVC Player of the Year AJ Green for the season due to a hip injury.
However, we do know one thing, and that is to never count out a Ben Jacobson coached team – especially during tournament time.
The Panthers and Redbirds just recently played last weekend on Friday and Saturday in Illinois – with Northern Iowa taking both games and resulting one in double overtime. Thursday night’s game was close throughout as well, but didn’t need overtime in this one.
It’s really difficult to beat a team three times in one season, let alone three times in a row, but that was what Northern Iowa had to do to keep their season alive.
Northern Iowa did, with a huge performance from the redshirt junior Austin Phyfe. Phyfe led the Panthers with 21 points and nine rebounds.
And with a 65-60 win over Illinois State, Northern Iowa is moving on to MVC Tournament Quarterfinal Friday for an in-state matchup against the two-seeded Drake Bulldogs. This should be a great coaching matchup between Ben Jacobson and the MVC Coach of the Year Darian DeVries.
Tip-off comes your way Friday at 5:00 PM CT on The Big 550 KTRS!