SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — One of the worst rebounding teams in the country a season ago, Northern Iowa had gone 14 games without being thoroughly dominated on the glass this season.

Missouri State and Alize Johnson changed that in a big way Thursday, giving the reeling Panthers another major area of concern during an 0-3 Missouri Valley Conference start.

Johnson recorded a 24-point, 20-rebound double-double and the Bears overcame some horrendous free throw shooting late to top UNI, 62-55.

The MVC’s preseason player of the year, Johnson looked the part, recording more rebounds by himself than UNI had as a team through the first 34 minutes of play. There have been just five 20-20 double-doubles in the country this season, two of which are by Johnson.

Missouri State finished with a 51-26 edge on the glass, with 17 of their boards coming on the offensive end, a stat that proved most frustrating to UNI head coach Ben Jacobson.

“That was the key to the game going in and it was the key to the game while it was being played,” Jacobson said of the rebounding. “It is something we’ve worked on a lot going back to last summer so there’s a lot of frustration in that.”

“We shouldn’t have somebody rebound like that against us,” forward Klint Carlson added. “It’s a matter of us ... having more pride in it, getting angry when it happens to us. Because we know it’s a big part of the game.”

UNI jumped out to a 9-5 lead early behind a stifling defense that forced Missouri State into a 1-of-10 shooting start. But as the Bears’ offense found its rhythm, the Panthers struggled to follow suit, as the deficit reached 19 points with 6:11 remaining.

Missouri State did its part to keep UNI alive in the closing moments of the second half, missing six consecutive free throws in a 1:32 stretch. But after a Carlson hook shot cut the deficit to 57-53, the Bears finally broke the foul shot cold streak to clinch the win.

UNI was able to find some success on the stat sheet, but got little in the way of balance.

Tywhon Pickford had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Carlson fell just shy of getting one of his own, finishing with 16 and nine. Bennett Koch also scored in double figures, adding 14.

But outside of that trio, no one else could get anything going, as the rest of the team combined for just seven points and seven rebounds.

Once 8-2, the Panthers are now just a game over .500 overall entering Sunday’s home contest against Loyola. More importantly, they are now a full three games back of Missouri State and Drake, who share the Valley lead at 3-0.

Though not happy to see the losses mounting, Jacobson who insisted “the sky doesn’t fall in my world“ following Sunday’s loss to Bradley, maintained his sense of calm Thursday, saying he would continue approaching things on a game-by-game basis.

“I don’t have any concerns about it piling up,” he said. “To me it’s about the possession, the half we just played, the game we just played. Tonight I’m disappointed that we didn’t rebound the basketball.”

Pickford agrees, saying he and his teammates had to keep pushing forward and remain confident they can escape their current tailspin.

“We don’t look at the record,” Pickford said. “That’s all we can do. Our attitude is what we’ve got to control. We’ve got to control how we come in every day and not looking back.

“If we play hard and do what we’re supposed to do, we can be up there with those teams, we can beat them.”

Missouri St. 62, UNI 55

UNI Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Carlson 34 6-15 2-3 9 2 4 16

Koch 20 5-7 4-5 0 0 4 14

Pickford 37 7-13 2-3 10 4 1 18

McCloud 19 1-5 0-0 1 0 2 2

Brown 9 0-1 1-2 0 0 4 1

McDermott:9 0-1 0-0 2 0 1 0

Friedman 12 0-1 0-0 0 2 3 0

Rhodes 9 0-1 0-0 0 0 3 0

Haldeman 19 0-3 1-2 1 2 3 1

W. Lohaus 18 1-5 1-2 1 1 1 3

McDonnell 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Phyfe 8 0-1 0-2 0 0 0 0

Team 2

Totals 200 20-53 11-19 26 9 25 55

Missouri St. Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Church 16 1-3 0-1 7 0 4 2

Rhodes 35 3-7 0-0 2 0 1 9

Johnson 33 8-19 8-10 20 1 1 24

Dixon 18 0-2 2-2 2 1 2 2

Kreklow 24 1-8 2-2 2 1 1 4

Fofana 11 0-0 1-2 3 0 2 1

Scurry 20 1-6 2-4 6 0 4 4

Rousseau III 24 1-2 0-2 1 2 1 3

Miller 19 5-7 3-4 6 1 1 13

Team 2

Totals 200 2 18-27 51 6 17 620-54

UNI 22 33 — 55

Missouri St. 31 31 — 62

3-point goals—UNI 4-18 (Pickford 2-7, Carlson 2-5, McCloud 0-2, Haldeman 0-2, W. Lohuas 0-1, McDonnell 0-1) Missouri St. 4-16 (Rhodes 3-6, Rousseau III 1-1, Kreklow 0-6, Johnson 0-3) Steals—UNI 5 (Carlson 2, Koch, Haldeman and W. Lohaus 1) Missouri St. 3 (Scurry 2, Rhodes 1). Blocks — UNI 3 (Koch 2), Missouri St. 3 (Scurry 2). Turnovers — UNI 6, Missouri St. 13.

Officials—Maxwell, Petty and Steed. Att.—4,934.

Missouri St. 62, UNI 55

UNI Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Carlson 34 6-15 2-3 9 2 4 16

Koch 20 5-7 4-5 0 0 4 14

Pickford 37 7-13 2-3 10 4 1 18

McCloud 19 1-5 0-0 1 0 2 2

Brown 9 0-1 1-2 0 0 4 1

McDermott:9 0-1 0-0 2 0 1 0

Friedman 12 0-1 0-0 0 2 3 0

Rhodes 9 0-1 0-0 0 0 3 0

Haldeman 19 0-3 1-2 1 2 3 1

W. Lohaus 18 1-5 1-2 1 1 1 3

McDonnell 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Phyfe 8 0-1 0-2 0 0 0 0

Team 2

Totals 200 20-53 11-19 26 9 25 55

Missouri St. Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Church 16 1-3 0-1 7 0 4 2

Rhodes 35 3-7 0-0 2 0 1 9

Johnson 33 8-19 8-10 20 1 1 24

Dixon 18 0-2 2-2 2 1 2 2

Kreklow 24 1-8 2-2 2 1 1 4

Fofana 11 0-0 1-2 3 0 2 1

Scurry 20 1-6 2-4 6 0 4 4

Rousseau III 24 1-2 0-2 1 2 1 3

Miller 19 5-7 3-4 6 1 1 13

Team 2

Totals 200 2 18-27 51 6 17 620-54

UNI 22 33 — 55

Missouri St. 31 31 — 62

3-point goals—UNI 4-18 (Pickford 2-7, Carlson 2-5, McCloud 0-2, Haldeman 0-2, W. Lohuas 0-1, McDonnell 0-1) Missouri St. 4-16 (Rhodes 3-6, Rousseau III 1-1, Kreklow 0-6, Johnson 0-3) Steals—UNI 5 (Carlson 2, Koch, Haldeman and W. Lohaus 1) Missouri St. 3 (Scurry 2, Rhodes 1). Blocks — UNI 3 (Koch 2), Missouri St. 3 (Scurry 2). Turnovers — UNI 6, Missouri St. 13.

Officials—Maxwell, Petty and Steed. Att.—4,934.

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Sports Reporter

Sports Writer at the Courier

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