Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson feels his team gained a much needed shot of confidence heading into Wednesday night’s Missouri Valley Conference at home against Loyola. The Panthers snapped a seven game losing skids and claimed their first league victory with a 79-60 win over Drake on Sunday.
“For us it was four weeks where we continued to practice hard and continued to practice well and at some point that has got to pay off for you”, said Jacobson. “There is no question this puts a little more bounce in their step now hopefully we can take another step forward.”
The Panthers are 1-5 in the Valley and lost the first game against the Ramblers 77-66 in Chicago two weeks ago.
Drake is at home Wednesday night against Southern Illinois. The Bulldogs were outrebounded 43-31 and committed 16 turnovers in an 83-69 loss to the Salukis on New Years Day.
“The thing that really separated it was on the boards and quite frankly the hustle board as well”, said Drake coach Jeff Rutter. “Obviously we need to do a better job on the boards and secure the basketball better.”
Drake has won four straight home games and during that span has averaged better than 94 points per game.
Southern Illinois is currently third in the Valley race with a record of 4-2.