Sports

UNI brings stingy defense

OKLAHOMA CITY – Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson knows his team doesn’t bring much “wow factor” to the NCAA tournament.

That hasn’t kept the Panthers from coming back again and again.

For the fifth time in the past seven years, Northern Iowa (28-4) is in the field, riding the nation’s second stingiest defense into tonight’s game against eighth-seeded UNLV (25-8). What the Panthers don’t have is an offense that can fill up a highlights show.

“With our basketball team, there isn’t a lot of that,” Jacobson said Wednesday. “We try to be very consistent. We try to defend at a high level and rebound the basketball and take advantage of what opportunities present themselves at the offensive end.

“I think our consistency has probably been our biggest strength and that’s something that just doesn’t really jump out at you.”

UNI averages only 63.3 points per game, but makes up for it by holding opponents to a mere 54.3 points.

“Really, we’ve got to find guys that are unselfish and care about winning. That’s really the bottom line,” Jacobson said. “We’ve been very fortunate to find guys that care about winning and that are unselfish. Because of that, they do the things that it takes to be part of a winning program.”



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