Northern Iowa men's basketball shoots past the University of North Dakota
GRAND FORKS -- A week earlier, Northern Iowa beat then No. 1-ranked North Carolina.On Saturday, the University of North Dakota discovered how Northern Iowa took down the top-ranked team in the country.And it was something UND didn't want to see a...
GRAND FORKS - A week earlier, Northern Iowa beat then No. 1-ranked North Carolina.
On Saturday, the University of North Dakota discovered how Northern Iowa took down the top-ranked team in the country.
And it was something UND didn’t want to see as UNI - coached by former North Dakota standout Ben Jacobson - dismantled the Fighting Hawks 97-51 at The Betty Engelstad Arena.
Northern Iowa placed five players in double figures and dominated from start to finish, knocking down 3-pointers with ease, scoring inside with ease and smothering UND (2-4) with a defense that held the Fighting Hawks to 29 percent shooting.
“That’s as good as we’ve played on both ends of the floor this season,” said Jacobson, who received a nice ovation during the UNI introductions. “The guys played great. We weren’t overly sharp Wednesday against Dubuque coming off the North Carolina game. They had me on edge a little bit. But we played good. In the first half, we didn’t give them anything. They had to work for everything they got.”
UNI shot 63 percent on 3-point attempts. Overall, the Panthers shot 61 percent. Paul Jesperson led UNI with 18 points.
UND, meanwhile, struggled in all facets of the game.
“That was, honestly, an embarrassing performance, not only for themselves, for their families and for this program because they’re better than that,” said UND coach Brian Jones of his players. “I know our guys hold themselves to a higher standard than what they showed today.”
Matt Bohannon (10 points) opened the game with a 3-pointer. UND’s Cortez Seales responded with a 3-pointer. But it was all UNI after that as the Panthers used a 9-0 run to grab a 27-12 lead with 8 minutes, 43 seconds left in the half.
By halftime, UNI led 54-20.
UND’s goal was to hold the Panthers’ potent 3-point game in check. That didn’t happen.
“They average 10 3-pointers a game and our goal was to hold them to five,” said Jones. “But they had nine 3-pointers at halftime. They had more 3-pointers at the half than we had field goals.”
UNI finished 12 of 19 from beyond the arc as Jesperson and Bohannon combined to make 7 of 12 3-pointers.
Quinton Hooker was the only UND player in double figures, finishing with 14 points.
“We didn’t play to our potential at any point,” said Hooker. “We didn’t follow the game plan. Give all the credit to them. They hit shots, played defense and rebounded. That’s what you get with an experienced team.”
UND’s youth wasn’t an excuse for the team’s sluggish showing, said Hooker.
“We are family and we’ll get through this,” said Hooker. “We have a young team but that can only go so far. Having these tough games now will help us in the future.”