Subscribe for 33¢ / day

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- A "white-out" was scheduled for the McLeod Center Saturday night.

In the end, the Northern Iowa men were snowed under by Wichita State's stellar depth in a 73-55 blowout loss.

Now, the forecast looks truly murky for the Panthers.

UNI (18-9, 9-6), lost more ground on league favorite Wichita State as the Shockers saw three key perimeter players score in double figures, led by Toure' Murry's 15 points. The Panthers got 15 points from guard Kwadzo Ahelegbe, but found little other success.

Wichita State put the game away with a late, 23-1 scoring surge.

"Very proud of these guys. Marvelous performance," said Shockers coach Gregg Marshall.

UNI lost for just the second time at home this season.

"There's some things we've got to clean up," said Ahelegbe, after his 100th consecutive start. "We've just gotta play a full 40 minutes, that's the most important thing."

Wichita State (21-5, 12-3), which entered the night with just one road loss this season, was in control early in this one, leading 14-4 after seven minutes.

"Wichita State, they played well from the opening tip and made us work extremely hard," said UNI coach Ben Jacobson, whose team shot just 31.4 percent.

UNI started the night 1-for-7 from the field. Wichita State, meanwhile, made 10 of its first 15 field-goal attempts. Post players like J.T. Durley scored easily around the basket for the visitors.

By night's end, Wichita State had shot 57.7 percent overall and had outscored the hosts 36-12 in the paint.

"I thought our big men stepped up," said Wichita State's Murry.

The Panthers shot 60 percent in the first half back on Jan. 19 when they beat Wichita State by three on the road. Saturday, UNI struggled to find an offensive rhythm early.

UNI's offensive screens have been largely ineffective without center Lucas O'Rear, who was sidelined Feb. 2 after fracturing an ankle. That was again apparent on Saturday.

"He's a very good player. That (injury is) a tough break," Marshall said of O'Rear. "He gives them a guy ... who knows how to win. He does all the little things."

The Shockers, ranked seventh nationally in rebounding margin, also owned the glass for much of Saturday's contest, pulling down 24 caroms in the first 25 minutes.

The visitors started the second half on a 9-2 scoring surge, and owned a 44-29 advantage after Ben Smith drilled a 3 from the top of the key.

A near-capacity home crowd wouldn't let UNI die easily, however. Ahelegbe started to impose his will, and the senior pulled the Panthers within six at 50-44 when he buried a 3 from the wing with 11:03 remaining. UNI eventually clawed within three points.

Wichita State could not be stopped inside, though. Murry kick-started the Shockers' late surge with a lay-in at the 8:39 mark.

The Shockers just had a little more energy and a lot more muscle in this contest.

Marshall's squad arrived in Cedar Falls undefeated in league road games. On Saturday, that streak continued, due in large part to Wichita State's impressive depth. The visitors came at UNI in waves, and never relented.

Now UNI will play its third road game in the span of 10 days Tuesday when it travels to Bradley.

"We've got to put this game behind us," said Ahelegbe. "We still have three key league games left."

 SHORT SHOTS: UNI is now 12-2 at home this season. ... After Saturday's outcome, UNI's lead in its all-time series with Wichita State is 24-19. ... Shockers coach Gregg Marshall is now 3-6 in his career against the Panthers.


Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Load comments