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UNI, Drake Ready for Saturday Tilt in Knapp Center

The UNI Panthers (11-4, 1-2 MVC) men’s basketball team will take on the in-state rival Drake Bulldogs (8-6, 1-2 MVC) on Saturday in the Knapp Center. Tip is schedule for 7 p.m.

• UNI will look to stake claim to the mythical state title with a victory over the Drake Bulldogs. UNI won all four games against Iowa, Iowa State and Drake in the 1997-98 and 2009-10 seasons. Those are the only two seasons, UNI has posted a perfect 4-0 record against the state of Iowa’s Division I institutions.
• The Panthers are 5-5 in their last 10 trips to the Knapp Center. Drake is 7-0 at home this season and is currently riding an 11-game home win streak.
• Since the 2003-04 season, UNI and Drake have met 15 times with UNI winning eight matchups and Drake seizing seven victories.
• UNI holds a 34-24 all-time lead in the series vs. Drake.
• Senior guard Johnny Moran made his 166th career 3-pointer in Wednesday’s 65-48 win over Indiana State to move into a tie for third place on the Panthers’ all-time made 3-pointers list with Darian DeVries (1995-98).
• Junior guard Marc Sonnen has scored in double figures on eight occasions this season, including a season-high 15 points in UNI’s win over Indiana State. Sonnen is averaging 9.2 points per game this year.
• Junior forward Jake Koch came into Wednesday’s game vs. Indiana State 0-for-6 from the field in MVC action this season – but he drained four field goals, including two 3-pointers in the win over the Sycamores.
• Junior guard Anthony James leads the Panthers in scoring at 13.7 points per game. James has reached double-figure scoring in 12 games, including three contests of 20 or more points.
• The Panther bench has provided quite a spark this season providing 21.3 points per game. Freshman guard Deon Mitchell came off the bench for the first time in his collegiate career against Evansville and posted 14 points for the Panthers. Mitchell then added 8 points off the bench against Indiana State.
• UNI is 11-4 on the season with some stark contrasts in the numbers between the wins and the losses. In UNI’s 11 wins, the Panthers are averaging 71.9 points per game and giving up 57.4 points per game. In UNI’s four losses, the Panthers are averaging 56.5 points per game and giving up 68.5 points per game. UNI is shooting 47.6 percent in its 11 wins, but that number drops to 35.0 percent in its four losses.
• 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 120-61.
• 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).

Drake is 8-6 on the season and 1-2 in Missouri Valley Conference action … the Bulldogs opened league play with a 79-64 win over Indiana State in the Knapp Center, but has since dropped road games at Missouri State (72-61) and at Creighton (76-59) … Drake is 7-0 at home this season and has won 11 straight games in the Knapp Center … the last Bulldogs loss at the Knapp Center came Jan. 25, 2011, a narrow 73-70 setback vs. MVC regular season champion Missouri State … Rayvonte Rice leads Drake in scoring at 17.4 ppg … Ben Simons is averaging 15.2 ppg … Drake went 7-4 in non-conference action with its losses coming against Ole Miss (63-59), Virginia (60-52), at Boise State (108-64) and at Iowa (82-68).

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