ST. LOUIS — Northern Iowa advanced to the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament with a 60-50 victory over Evansville Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.
Next up for UNI (16-15) is a quarterfinal at noon Friday against top seed Loyola (25-5).
The Ramblers swept the Panthers in the regular season, winning 56-50 in Cedar Falls and 70-47 in Chicago.
Defense carried Northern Iowa on Thursday. UNI clamped down on MVC leading scorer Ryan Taylor (22.1 ppg), holding him to a season-low two points.
Taylor shot just 1-for-13 from the field, as Isaiah Brown, Wyatt Lohaus and Klint Carlson stayed up in his grill.
“Being the third time we played them, the guys had a better feel for what he’s capable of,” UNI Coach Ben Jacobson said on the KXEL postgame.
“Our communication was good. When we made our switches, we denied him from being in rhythm. That was a big deal.”
The Panthers led by seven at the half, 31-24, and never let the margin get closer than six points in the second half.
Northern Iowa had a season-low four turnovers.
Lohaus came off the bench to lead the team with 15 points. Hunter Rhodes added 14 points.
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Klint Carlson had nine points and 10 rebounds and Bennett Koch had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Dru Smith had a game-high 20 points for Evansville (17-15).