CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- The Northern Iowa men's basketball team leaned just enough on Milwaukee over 40 minutes to build statistical advantages all over the court.
It added up to one final statistic - a 67-51 victory for UNI (9-1) Saturday afternoon in front of 4,067 at the McLeod Center.
UNI forced 15 turnovers and committed just six, which lead to a 17-2 advantage in points scored off of them.
"In practices, we focus on defense. Not particularly to force turnovers, but to play the position," said junior Anthony James, who scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half. "If a team starts turning the ball over, that's only good for us and we can turn it into points."
UNI came up with 14 offensive rebounds compared to Milwaukee's seven and scored 16 second-chance points.
"It was one of our better - if not our best - rebounding effort and it had a real impact on the game," said head coach Ben Jacobson. "And the defense is going to look a lot better when you rebound the basketball."
And when it came to scoring, UNI stuck it to Milwaukee (8-2) where the opposing Panthers haven't felt it before this season - behind the 3-point line. Milwaukee came to Cedar Falls with opponents averaging just 21.6 percent from behind the arc, but something had to give and UNI stayed hot. The Panthers hit 9 of 19 from downtown in the game and cashed in on 5 of 9 in the second half.
"They move the ball well and make the extra pass," said Cedar Rapids native Kaylon Williams. "Coming in, we knew they could shoot it, and they got some wide-open shots that weren't really contested."
Meanwhile, Milwaukee had trouble finding the net on the other end. The Panthers finished the first half 2 of 12 from downtown, including a stretch of nine straight misses. Williams and Kyle Kelm were the only Milwaukee players to score in the opening half as they combined for just 18 points.
"Some games they're falling. Some games they're not," Williams added. "We may have taken a few too many in the first half, but it was just one of those nights where you can't get them to fall."
So Milwaukee started going inside. James Haarsma and Ryan Allen combined for 18 second-half points down low and Milwaukee cut the lead to as little as six two times.
With the score 40-34, Jake Koch converted an old-fashioned three-point play to push the lead back to nine points. And when he hit a 3-pointer with just under six minutes to play, the deficit never went back to single digits.
"It just seems you can't get behind on Northern Iowa," said Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter. "They're too patient and too disciplined."
Koch finished with a game-high 21 points, hit 6 of 6 at the foul stripe and also dished out three assists. Johnny Moran scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and, along with Seth Tuttle, pulled down a team-best six rebounds for the Panthers, who have a week off to enjoy an eighth-straight win.
"We don't have any goals like going undefeated or anything, just as long as we're improving every day and getting our teammates better," Koch said. "Of course, it's always nice to see one in the win column."