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UNI tops in-state rival Drake 71-64

Sports Writer

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 15:02

Basketball

ERIN KEISER/Northern Iowan

UNI senior Marc Sonnen (23), pictured here against Creighton University, hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to help lift the Panthers to a 71-64 victory over the Drake Bulldogs Saturday night in Des Moines.

The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team hit 13 3-pointers and recorded 12 steals in an all-around effort to defeat Drake University 71-64 Saturday at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

With the victory, UNI head coach Ben Jacobson moves into No. 3 on UNI’s all-time wins list with 145 victories. The Panthers have now won five straight games and seven of their last nine games to move into a third-place tie in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with three conference games remaining.

UNI (16-11, 9-6 MVC) was led in scoring by senior guards Marc Sonnen and Anthony James, who each scored 17 points in the contest. Junior forward Chip Rank and senior forward Jake Koch both added 11 points.

The two teams battled back and forth throughout the first half with neither team pulling ahead by more than four points. Sophomore guard Deon Mitchell hit a layup with two seconds left in the first half to give the Panthers a 33-32 lead heading into halftime.

The game remained tight for the first 10 minutes of the second half before the Panthers went on a 12-2 run to take a 58-48 lead with just under five minutes to play. UNI extended their lead to 11 points moments later before finishing the game with a seven-point victory.

The Panthers were outrebounded 27-26 but forced the Bulldogs (11-15, 5-10 MVC) into 18 turnovers.

Drake’s Chris Hines scored a team-high 18 points while Jordan Clarke finished the game with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

UNI is now tied with the Indiana State University Sycamores for third place in the MVC. The two teams are just one game behind Creighton University for second place and two games behind Wichita State University for first place.

The Panthers return to action Tuesday as they travel to Springfield, Mo., to face the Missouri State University Bears (8-19, 6-9 MVC) at 7 p.m.

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