Game #31: UNI at Southern Illinois
Sat., Feb. 25 - 2 p.m. (Central)
SIU Arena - Carbondale, Ill.
Radio: Panther Sports Network
The UNI Panthers (18-12, 8-9 MVC) will close the regular season with a trip to Carbondale, Ill., and a matchup with the Southern Illinois Salukis (8-21, 5-12 MVC). UNI and SIU will tip at 2 p.m. Saturday in SIU Arena.
• UNI enters the final game of the regular season in a four-way tie for fifth place in the MVC standings. UNI is tied with Illinois State, Evansville and Indiana State at 8-9 in league play. UNI has finished in the top five in the Valley in each of the last eight seasons.
• The Panthers can enter the State Farm MVC Tournament as either the No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7 or No. 8 seed depending on the final slate of games on Saturday. UNI cannot be the No. 3 seed because of tiebreakers.
• UNI’s non-conference strength of schedule ranks No. 19 in the nation according to the Collegiate Basketball News RPI. After head-to-head matchups are used, the MVC uses the non-conference schedule strength as its secondary tiebreaker. Only Wichita State’s NCSS ranking of No. 12 is better than UNI’s.
• UNI has won 18 or more games in nine straight seasons. UNI captured its 18th win of the season Wednesday vs. Bradley. Prior to the 2003-04 season, UNI had won 18 or more games only six times in the history of the men’s basketball program.
• UNI is ranked No. 67 in the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI. UNI is 3-4 against the Top 50.
• UNI freshman forward Seth Tuttle is closing in on the 300-point scoring mark for a freshman. Since moving to the Division I ranks, UNI has had only six players reach the 300-point mark as a freshman. Tuttle has tallied 285 points through the Panthers’ first 30 games this season.
• Tuttle leads the MVC in field goal percentage (.658).
• Over his last 11 games, Tuttle has taken charge and leads the Panthers in scoring at 13.4 points per game. In that stretch, Tuttle is shooting 69.3 percent from the field (52-of-75) and has grabbed a team-high 66 rebounds (6.0 rpg).
• UNI’s Johnny Moran became the 34th Panther to join the 1,000-Point Club on Wednesday. Moran has scored 1,011 points in his UNI career.
• UNI’s streak of three consecutive 20-win seasons is the longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Conference.
• UNI returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last year’s Panther squad that posted a mark of 20-14.
• Head coach Ben Jacobson is in his sixth season at the helm of the Panther program having posted a career mark of 127-69.
• Jacobson ranks No. 4 on the Panthers’ all-time wins list trailing only O.M. “Hon” Nordly (166), Eldon Miller (164) and Jim Berry (144).
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
The Southern Illinois Salukis (8-21 overall, 5-12 MVC) have lost five games in a row heading into Saturday’s home finale against the Panthers ... SIU is 4-4 at home in MVC play, but only 1-8 on the road ... Mamadou Seck leads the Salukis in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) ... former Panther assistant coach Ron Smith (1999-2005 asst. coach; 2005-06 director of MBB operations) is serving as an assistant coach for the Salukis this season.
Starting with the team’s game Nov. 15 at Saint Mary’s, this year’s UNI men’s basketball games can be heard on the UNI Sports Radio Network, with KXEL (1540 AM, Waterloo, Iowa) serving as flagship station. Affiliates include KGYM (1600 AM, Cedar Rapids), KCHA (95.9 FM and 1580 AM, Charles City), KXNO (1460 AM, Des Moines), KQCR (98.9 FM, Hampton), KQMG (95.3 FM, Independence), KRIB (1490 AM, Mason City), KILJ (105.5 FM, Mount Pleasant), KWQC (1570 AM, Webster City).
Long-time Panthers announcer Gary Rima handles play-by-play duties, while Kevin Boyle serves as analyst.
UNI PANTHERS INSIDE ACCESS
All of UNI’s home men’s basketball games can be viewed and listened to on the World Wide Web by going to www.unipanthers.com. UNI has partnered with NeuLion to provide live video and audio streaming of Panther basketball via “UNI Panthers Inside Access”. In addition to video from most home men’s basketball contests, and audio from home and road contests, this subscription-based service also provides video and audio of a number of other UNI sports. In addition, all Panther home men’s basketball games have free live stats courtesy of StatBroadcast.com.
SERIES HISTORY VS. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
Southern Illinois leads the all-time series vs. UNI, 28-21. UNI is 4-18 all-time in games played at SIU. However, UNI has won seven of the last eight meetings vs. SIU.
UNI head coach Ben Jacobson is 9-3 all-time vs. Southern Illinois.
TUTTLE CLOSING IN ON THE 300-POINT MARK
UNI freshman forward Seth Tuttle is closing in on the 300-point scoring mark for a freshman. Since moving to the Division I ranks, UNI has had only six players reach the 300-point mark as a freshman.
Tuttle has tallied 285 points this season.
Jason Reese holds the school record for freshman scoring with 395 points in the 1986-87 season.
UNI Freshmen with 300 Points in Single Season (UNI’s Division I Era)
Jason Reese (1986-87) 395 pts
Randy Kraayenbrink (1982-83) 384 pts
Maurice Newby (1986-87) 378 pts
Chris Foster (2001-02) 364 pts
Eric Coleman (2004-05) 342 pts
Ben Jacobson (2002-03) 315 pts
MORAN JOINS THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
UNI senior guard Johnny Moran became the 34th member of the Panthers’ 1,000-Point Club in UNI’s win over Bradley (2/22).
Moran drained a 3-pointer with 16:10 left in the first half to eclipse the 1,000-point mark. Moran scored 12 points in the victory over the Braves and has now scored 1,011 points heading into Saturday’s regular season finale at Southern Illinois.
ALL-TIME PLAYER WINS AT UNI
Senior guard Johnny Moran is approaching another Panther record as he has won 89 games in the Purple and Old Gold uniform. Kwadzo Ahelegbe set the record with 91 wins in his career.
UNI senior guard Johnny Moran has seen action in 131 of a possible 133 games in his Panther career. His 131 games started is a UNI record.
Moran ranks No. 2 on the Panthers’ all-time 3-pointers made list with 193 triples. Ben Jacobson (2003-06) set the UNI record with 203 made 3-pointers.
Moran ranks No. 3 on the UNI games played list with 131 games in a Panther uniform. Moran trails only Adam Koch (132) and Kwadzo Ahelegbe (133) on the Panthers’ all-time games played list.
Moran ranks No. 5 on the Panthers’ all-time steals list with 149 steals.
SEARCHING FOR A TOP-5 VALLEY FINISH
UNI enters the final game of the regular season in a four-way tie for fifth place in the MVC standings. UNI is tied with Illinois State, Evansville and Indiana State at 8-9 in league play. UNI has finished in the top five in the Valley in each of the last eight seasons.
The last time UNI finished lower than fifth in the MVC came in the 2002-03 season when the Panthers went 7-11 in league play and finished seventh.
SEEDING POSSIBILITIES FOR MVC TOURNAMENT
The UNI Panthers can enter the State Farm MVC Tournament as either the No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7 or No. 8 seed depending on the final slate of games on Saturday. UNI cannot be the No. 3 seed because of tiebreakers.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE
UNI’s Seth Tuttle is a making a strong case for MVC Freshman of the Year honors.
Over his last 11 games, Tuttle has taken charge and leads the Panthers in scoring at 13.4 points per game. In those 11 contests, Tuttle has scored nine points or more in every game. He has reached double-figure scoring in seven of the 11 contests, including a career-high 22 points at Indiana State.
In the 11-game stretch, Tuttle is shooting 69.3 percent from the field (52-of-75) and has grabbed a team-high 66 rebounds (6.0 rpg).
On the season, Tuttle leads the Missouri Valley Conference in field goal percentage (65.8 percent).
OUTSTANDING REBOUNDING VS. BRADLEY
UNI owned a +10 rebounding margin (36-26) in his 64-55 win over Bradley (2/22). It marked the first time in over a year that UNI had held a double-figure lead in the rebounding battle.
The last time it occurred came in a 65-53 win over Evansville in the McLeod Center (Jan. 4, 2011) when UNI held a 30-19 rebounding advantage over the Purple Aces.
SONNEN’S STRETCH KEYS PANTHER WIN AGAINST THE BRAVES
UNI junior guard Marc Sonnen poured in 13 points in the Panthers’ 64-55 win over Bradley (2/22). Sonnen’s early second-half scoring explosion allowed the Panthers to overcome a 30-24 halftime deficit.
Sonnen scored eight points in the first 3:49 of the second half to help turn a six-point deficit into a four-point lead. Sonnen buried two 3-pointers and another two-point jumper in a 12-0 run that gave UNI a lead it would not relinquish against the Braves.
Sonnen leads the Panthers this season with 51 3-pointers. He ranks tied for third on the team in scoring at 8.7 points per game.
KOCH IS AN ALL-AROUND PERFORMER
UNI junior forward Jake Koch is the only member of the Missouri Valley Conference to have 25 or more offensive rebounds (33), assists (80), blocks (31) and steals (29) this season.
NO. 67 IN RPI
UNI is ranked No. 67 in the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI. UNI is 3-4 against the Top 50.
UNI’s non-conference strength of schedule ranks No. 19.
62 OR LESS
UNI is 13-2 this season when holding the opposition to 62 points or less. UNI is only 5-10 when allowing 63 points or more.
DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING = KEYS TO SUCCESS
UNI head coach Ben Jacobson harps on defense and rebounding when it comes to success of the Panther basketball team and the numbers don’t lie.
When UNI outrebounds its opponent, the Panthers are 11-3 this season. However, when the opponent wins the rebounding battle, the Panthers are only 7-7.
When the Panthers defend and hold the opposition to a lower shooting percentage, the Panthers are 15-2 this year. However, when the opposition shoots a higher percentage, the Panthers are only 3-9.
JAMES LEADS THE UNI SCORING ATTACK
Junior guard Anthony James has come off the bench in his last six appearances, but leads the team in scoring on the season at 13.1 points per game.
James has reached double-figure scoring in 20 games, including five contests of 20 or more points. James has recorded nine 20-plus scoring efforts in his UNI Panther career.
CHIP RANKS RIGHT UP THERE
Sophomore forward Chip Rank leads the team in 3-point field goal percentage (47.2 percent). He ranks No. 2 on the team in field goal percentage (51.3 percent).
Rank has tallied nine double-figure scoring efforts this season, including a career-high 15 points at Bradley (1/15). Rank buried a career-high four 3-pointers against the Braves.
Last season, Rank reached double-figure scoring only once as a true freshman - 14 points against Drake.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN W & L
UNI is 18-12 on the season with some stark contrasts in the numbers between the wins and the losses.
In UNI’s 18 wins, the Panthers are averaging 70.3 points per game and giving up 57.3 points per game.
In UNI’s 12 losses, the Panthers are averaging 59.4 points per game and giving up 69.2 points per game.
UNI is shooting 46.7 percent in its 18 wins, but that number drops to 40.0 percent in its 12 losses.
UNI has made 43.1 percent of its 3-point shots in its 18 wins, but only 34.6 percent of its 3-point shots in its 12 setbacks.
KOCH DRAINS ‘EM FROM THE LINE
Junior Jake Koch currently ranks No. 6 on the Panthers’ all-time free throw percentage list. Koch has made 204-of-251 career free throws for a mark of 81.3 percent.
Maurice Newby (1987-91) holds the UNI free throw percentage record at 85.6 percent (149-of-174).
UNI’S 3-POINT STREAK
UNI enters Saturday’s game at Southern Illinois having made at least one made three-pointer in 389 straight games.
The last time UNI failed to make a 3-point basketball came Feb. 3, 2000, vs. Southern Illinois in a 72-58 Panther victory in the UNI-Dome. UNI went 0-for-4 from 3-point land vs. the Salukis back in 2000.
18-PLUS WINS IN 9 STRAIGHT SEASONS
UNI has won 18 or more games in nine straight seasons. UNI captured its 18th win of the season Wednesday vs. Bradley.
Prior to the 2003-04 season, UNI had won 18 or more games only six times in the history of the men’s basketball program.
18-Plus Wins Prior to 2003-04
1961-62 - 19-5
1963-64 - 23-4
1978-79 - 18-11
1983-84 - 18-10
1988-89 - 19-9
1989-90 - 23-9
18-Plus Wins Since 2003-04
2003-04 - 21-10
2004-05 - 21-11
2005-06 - 23-10
2006-07 - 18-13
2007-08 - 18-14
2008-09 - 23-11
2009-10 - 30-5
2010-11 - 20-14
2011-12 - 18-12
WINNING TRADITION AT MCLEOD
UNI has posted an all-time mark of 71-22 (.763) in games played in the McLeod Center. The McLeod Center was finished in November 2006.
UNI is 13-3 at home this season in the McLeod Center. The Panthers have won 41 of their last 49 games in the McLeod Center.
UNI posted a perfect mark of 14-0 in home games in the 2009-10 season. UNI set its home win streak of 21 between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 seasons.
RARE SWEEPS IN JACOBSON ERA
Since Ben Jacobson took over the head coaching duties in 2006-07, the UNI program has only been swept in an MVC home-and-home series on seven occasions.
Evansville was the seventh squad to sweep a Jacobson-coached Panther squad with its 63-62 win at the Ford Center (2/15). Earlier this season, Wichita State also swept the season series from the Panthers.
Prior to this season, the only five times it has occurred have come vs. Indiana State (2010-11), Creighton (2006-07, 2007-08) and Drake (2006-07, 2007-08).
ON THE OTHER HAND
UNI has swept an MVC opponent 18 times since the 2006-07 season. UNI has swept all nine opponents in the MVC at least once in that stretch.
UNI has swept the season series against Drake already this year.
UNI will be looking to sweep the season series vs. Southern Illinois for only the fifth time in school history.
2012 BATTLE FOR ATLANTIS
UNI will take part in the 2012 Battle for Atlantis Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend next season. The tournament will take place on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
UNI will be joined in the tournament by Duke, Louisville, Memphis, Minnesota, Missouri, Stanford and VCU.
ARCH MADNESS TICKETS ON SALE
All-session tickets to the 2012 Arch Madness State Farm Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis next March went on sale Dec. 15.
All-session tickets are $155 and $130 each in the lower bowl and $115 in the upper bowl at Scottrade Center and are good for all nine games of the tournament, slated for March 1-4. Tickets can be purchased at the Scottrade Center box office, at Ticketmaster outlets in the St. Louis region or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. There will be an additional service fee per ticket.
Fans and alumni of Valley schools can also contact their institution’s ticket office to inquire about priority seating within that school’s section.
This year’s tournament marks the 22nd consecutive year that Arch Madness has been held in St. Louis. All 10 Valley teams will be competing for the MVC championship and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
FOLLOW THE PANTHERS ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER
Fans of UNI Athletics on Facebook and Twitter will have access to in-game updates, score recaps and special announcements.
UNI Athletics on Facebook will give fans the chance to connect with other Panther fans, as well as providing information on upcoming events. Followers on Twitter will be able to access up-to-the-minute score updates and news about the Panthers on their computer or mobile device.