TERRE HAUTE, Ind. | A unicorn was spotted Tuesday in Terre Haute, Ind.
College basketball's version, at least.
Perhaps never seen before and maybe never seen again, the University of Northern Iowa men's basketball team and Indiana State played straight through two media timeouts during the Panthers' 61-51 victory. Typically, mandatory timeouts come on the first dead ball after the 16-minute, 12-minute, 8-minute and 4-minute marks of each half. The only stoppage of play from 17:15 to 6:15 was an Indiana State called timeout with 10:36 showing on the clock.
"That might have been a first for me," said UNI head coach Ben Jacobson.
It was definitely a first for UNI. And it definitely had an effect on the game.
The Panthers go to their bench often, and three players subbed in at the 17:15 mark while Indiana State stayed with its five starters. That group didn't get a breather until the live-ball timeout nearly 10 minutes into the game.
"He subs that first group quick, usually inside the first media," said Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing. "So they had three fresh guys out there. I probably should've called one a little earlier."
Before Lansing's timeout, UNI was on a 9-0 run. That put the Panthers up 17-8. The Sycamores closed back to within six but never really put serious pressure on UNI.
Seth Tuttle and Jeremy Morgan, starters for UNI, didn't come out in that group of three and were in it for the long haul.
"I can tell you it's not very much fun. I was dogging it," Tuttle said. "I think it went for nine, almost 10 minutes. About six minutes in, you're looking across at your opponents and it's just a mental game at that point. Who's going to fight through it? Who's going to be mentally tougher? Tonight, I think we were. That's when we were able to stretch it out a little bit and get a lead."
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Jacobson said having an experienced team that can fall back on its communication is key in those situations. In addition to the way he has been able to manage minutes so far this season.
"I know you can't sub during that time, but our depth has helped us. Aside from Seth, guys haven't played a ton of minutes," Jacobson added. "So when you get in a longer stretch like that, guys aren't banged up right now."
To make all of it happen, the officials had to do their part as well. Zero fouls were called for nearly 14 minutes. The first half featured just four whistles -- three fouls on the Sycamores and only one on the Panthers, which was given on purpose to disrupt Indiana State in the waning seconds.
Of course, radio broadcasts weren't just going to go without their allotment of commercials. After Alex Etherington committed a foul with 6:15 remaining, three media breaks came over the next 1:33 on the game clock.
Spending that much time on commercials, well, isn't so rare.
LOHAUS AND LEGEND - NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird, the one whose statue stands outside the Hulman Center and jersey hangs up in the nosebleed section, is the godfather of UNI freshman Wyatt Lohaus.
Lohaus' father, Brad, was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played two seasons with Bird from 1987-89. Bird retired in 1992 and Brad Lohaus went on to play for nine different teams during a 10-year career, but the pair stayed in touch.
Wyatt Lohaus says it's been several years since he's seen Bird, and his mother, Anne, and Bird's wife, Dinah, talk the most. While the game wasn't on TV, the family knew Lohaus was at Indiana State to play in "House that Bird Built" in Terre Haute.