UNI mascot.

UNI mascot.

UNI coach Ben Jacobson says a renewed commitment to defense has been a key to this season. The Panthers are 14-2 overall and back in the AP top 25 at number 23 after a lopsided win at Drake.

“We had a great stretch in the second half against Drake, but I still feel like there’s some room to get everybody on our team all the way to the highest level from the effort standpoint on the defensive end floor. I think we are close, but we are not all the way there yet,” according to Jacobson.

Jacobson says the Panthers let that commitment slide last season and he says they put more emphasis on offense and the transition offense, so he says the slip in defense falls on his shoulders.

Jacobson says the renewed emphasis on defense has helped and the improvement on the defensive end has made the Panthers a better road team this season.

“Even though we’ve got a lot of work to do in improving our rebounding, we are a better rebounding team than we were last year,” Jacobson says.

UNI takes are 3-1 Missouri Valley Conference record on the road to Bradley on Tuesday night.