U.N.I. can claim the school’s first-ever outright Missouri Valley Conference championship with a home victory over Creighton tonight, but the Panthers will be without their second-leading scorer in the line-up. Coach Ben Jacobsen has suspended 7-foot senior center Jordan Egleseder for three games following his arrest on drunken driving charges early Sunday morning.

Jacobsen says he’s very disappointed in what happened and in Egleseder, but he says the player also has his full support and the full support of the team as he has earned that. Egleseder released a statement on Monday, apologizing to his teammates, the fans, the university, and the alumni.

Jacobsen says no one feels worse about what happened more than Egleseder and the Bellevue native needs to learn from his mistake. He says his job now is to make good decisions going forward and to use this experience in the future when another situation arises where he is frustrated.

Lucas O’Rear, the league’s reigning sixth-man of year, will take Egleseder’s place in the starting line-up. Jacobsen says the challenge for U.N.I. now is for everyone on the team to be more productive. Jacobsen says it’s important that the rest of the team does not try to do too much more, as he says they have depth and the key is for everyone to do just a little more.

Egleseder’s absence will likely force the Panthers to alter their offensive attack, but Jacobsen is confident the that UNI’s experience will carry his team. He says they may need to do some things to free up their guards more, but he says they have the experience to run other things and get what they need offensively.

Tip-off for the UNI-Creighton game is at 7:05 tonight at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls.

By Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein