The Panthers, fighting for as high as the sixth seed for the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, are 15-1 this season when scoring 60 points or more. Northern Iowa will put that theory to the test tonight when they wrap up the regular season at Evansville, Ind., against the Purple Aces.
The two teams faced off nearly two months ago in the second week of the MVC schedule, with the Panthers pulling out a 64-51 victory at the McLeod Center.
Northern Iowa (16-13, 8-9) have gotten back-to-back double-doubles out of their senior center Eric Coleman, who has averaged 23.5 points and 12 rebounds over the Panthers’ last two games. Coleman is the only Division I player in the country to lead his team in each of the following categories: scoring (11.8 ppg), rebounds (8.4 rpg), assists (56), blocked shots (40), steals (19) and field goal percentage (.546). In fact there are only 10 players in the nation who lead their teams in scoring, rebounding and assists.
The Panthers have dropped four straight road games and are uncertain as to the availability of 7-foot center Jordan Egleseder. The sophomore has missed three of UNI’s last five games with back and ankle problems but is listed as day-to-day.
Evansville (9-19, 3-14) stands last in the MVC. The Purple Aces had a season-long eight-game losing streak spanning from Dec. 29 to Jan. 23, but have recovered to win four of their last 10.
Shy Ely has been Evansville’s leading scorer in 14 of their 28 games so far. The junior swingman from Indianapolis leads the team with a 14.5 scoring average to go along with 5.1 rebounds per game. Point guard Jason Holsinger chips in 13 points and 4.4 assists per game.
The Purple Aces leads the all-time series against Northern Iowa, 17-14, including a 12-3 advantage at Roberts Stadium.
Fact BoxUNI at Evansville
When: Tonight at 7:05 p.m.
Where: Roberts Stadium, Evansville, Ind.