The University of Northern Iowa took an early lead, but then fell behind nine to Louisville at halftime and a second half rally fell short as they lost 66-53 in the NCAA Tournament.
Coach Ben Jacobson, credited the Cardinals. “We battled hard to grab ahold of the momentum tonight and we just couldn’t do it, a lot to or all to do with Louisville and the way they went about their business in the game tonight. They deserve a ton of credit for that,” Jacobson said. “They had us out of rhythm a little bit with our offense in that stretch in the first half, and that slowed us down and hurt us.”
Jacobson said Louisville made things happen that he didn’t want to see. “They got some stuff that we felt like maybe we could take away tonight, but they got to it. From top to bottom they deserve a lot of credit. Because, man I love our team, but we did a few things we haven’t done in awhile, that credit goes to Louisville, because we’ve got tough guys, but we made a few mistakes tonight,” Jacobson said.
Senior Seth Tuttle struggled to get going on offense for the Panthers. “They’ve got some really good long, athletic guys in there, they are extremely physical. They did a good job for the most part of not letting me get anything easy. They basically kept it up for 40 minutes, so like coach said, all the credit goes to those guys,” according to Tuttle. He says Louisville’s size impacted the entire offense.
“It just uh, takes away anything easy at the rim, Deon or Wes will get there, but even if they blow past one guy, another guy rotating and get that’s the way they play and they do it well,” Tuttle said. “They just changed a lot of shots at the rim, you don’t get much easy.”
Jacobson said even with the struggles on offense, they still kept going at it.”We had chances to get it down to four or five, we all saw it. So we fought,” Jacobson said. Tuttle ended his career with 14 points to lead the Panthers. Nate Buss had 11 and Paul Jesperson 10.
U-N-I finishes the season with a school-record 31 wins and 4 loses.