Koch and UNI make history in 85-55 rout of Drake
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:01
After falling to Creighton University by a score of 79-68 on Jan. 15, the University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team returned home to defeat their in-state rivals, the Drake University Bulldogs, 85-55 on Sunday afternoon.
The 30-point victory marks the largest margin between the two teams in their 61 meetings on the hardwood.
UNI has won their last two home games by an average of 30.5 points per game and now sit at 3-4 in Missouri Valley Conference play.
“I think it’s more that we’re getting better, we are getting closer,” UNI head coach Ben Jacobson said of his team’s recent play. “I’ve used the word inconsistent a lot this year, but I’m starting to get away from it after Bradley, Creighton and here.
“The second half of Evansville was just before (Bradley) and Illinois State was before that,” Jacobson continued. “That’s four-and-a-half games out of five where we’ve played pretty good. Two of the five have been really good, with Bradley and (Drake). I think we’re getting closer, and a big part of that is the guys gaining confidence.”
After falling behind early, the Panthers used a 17-2 scoring run in the first half and a 16-0 run in the second half to cruise to an easy 30-point victory. Six UNI players finish with eight points or more.
Sophomore point guard Deon Mitchell led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. Mitchell entered the game shooting just 21.9 percent from long range.
“I’ve been in the gym the past few days with one of the assistant coaches. I’ve been struggling, so that’s just something I’ve gone into the gym and keep working on,” said Mitchell. “Because of my percentage, I think teams are starting to back off. So I need to keep working on that so I can take advantage of that.”
Senior forward Jake Koch finished the game with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half.
“The first half, I just sat there and kind of felt out the defense,” said Koch. “The second half, we had good high-low passes and there was a couple of drives. I just tried to be more assertive. When the opportunity’s there, go after it.”
Koch reached a significant career milestone on Sunday by becoming just the second MVC player to ever record 500 points, 500 rebounds, 100 3-pointers, 100 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals in a career.
The Panthers returned to action Wednesday night to host the Southern Illinois University Salukis.
For a full recap of the SIU game, plus UNI’s game at Indiana State University on Saturday, pick up a copy of next Tuesday’s issue of the Northern Iowan.