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UNI Embarks on MVC Play Dec. 29 at Illinois State

The UNI Panthers (10-2 overall) will begin Missouri Valley Conference play on the road at Illinois State (8-3 overall) on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. in Normal, Ill.


  • UNI will open Missouri Valley Conference play with an overall mark of 10-2.
  • The Panthers are 3-2 in MVC openers under head coach Ben Jacobson. UNI is 2-0 on the road in league openers under Coach Jake with wins at Bradley (2007-08) and at Creighton (2009-10).
  • Illinois State holds a 33-25 lead in the all-time series vs. UNI. But the Panthers have won seven straight games in the series. UNI has won three consecutive games in Redbird Arena, including a pair of two-point wins (46-44 last season and 69-67 in the 2008-09 season).
  • When UNI travels to Normal, Ill., a down to the wire finish seems to be the norm. In five of the last seven meetings played in Redbird Arena the margin of victory in the game has been decided by five points or less points, and neither team has eclipsed the 70-point mark in any of those contests.
  • Last season, UNI edged out Illinois State in a pair of tight games. The panthers won 46-44 in Normal on Jan. 12, 2011. UNI then posted a 53-51 victory over the Redbirds in the McLeod Center on Feb. 2, 2011.
  • UNI head coach Ben Jacobson is 9-3 all-time vs. Illinois State.
  • UNI is 10-2 on the season with some stark contrasts in the numbers between the wins and the losses. In UNI’s 10 wins, the Panthers are averaging 72.6 points per game and giving up 57.4 points per game. In UNI’s two losses, the Panthers are averaging 50.0 points per game and giving up 66.5 points per game. UNI is shooting 48.2 percent in its 10 wins, but that number drops to 31.0 percent in its two losses.
  • For the first time in school history, UNI had seven players reach double-figure scoring in a game when the Panthers tallied an 84-48 win over Loras. Since 1997, UNI had three games in which it had six double-figure scorers – but never seven.
  • UNI returns eight letterwinners and three starters from last year’s Panther squad that posted a mark of 20-14.
  • UNI’s streak of three consecutive 20-win seasons is the longest active streak in the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • Head coach Ben Jacobson is in his sixth season at the helm of the Panther program having posted a career mark of 119-59.
  • Jacobson ranks No. 4 on the Panthers’ all-time wins list trailing only O.M. “Hon” Nordly (166), Eldon Miller (164) and Jim Berry (144).

Illinois State is 8-3 on the year and in the midst of a three-game winning streak … the Redbirds are 6-1 at home this season with its only loss at Redbird Arena coming against UNC-Wilmington (63-54 on Dec. 3) … Illinois State’s other two setbacks came at Fresno State (55-47 on Dec. 11) and vs. Illinois (63-59 on Nov. 23 in Cancun) … Illinois State is led in scoring by Jackie Carmichael (13.3 ppg), Tyler Brown (12.7 ppg) and Jon Ekey (11.1 ppg).

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