CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa imposed its Division-I will on Cornell College, running away with an 88-66 win Wednesday night at McLeod Center.
UNI’s defense held the Division-III Rams without a basket until the 14:24 mark of the first half. The Panthers began the game on a 13-0 run, routinely breaking down Cornell’s defense off the dribble and finding the open man.
“The understanding and the feel for allowing this offense to work for us — play together and get side-to-side — when we’ve let it work for us this year, and we’ve done it a lot, those possessions really look good,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said.
Trae Berhow — who tied UNI’s school record with eight 3s in the Panthers win over UT-Martin Tuesday night — picked up where he left off with four 3s and 20 points in 25 minutes.
UNI’s bench displayed why Jacobson has continually talked about the talent level of his team.
Freshman forward James Betz — who supplanted Luke McDonnell in Jacobson’s rotation — finished with 16 points. The Ventura native showed off his power early in the first half with a two-handed dunk in traffic and followed it with a Tim Duncan-esque bankshot, displaying his touch.
“He’s got a lot of tools at that offensive end,” Jacobson said. “And (he’s) physical defensively.”
Freshmen Noah Carter and Antwan Kimmons added eight and three points, respectively, and all three freshmen reached a season-high in minutes played. However, Jacobson was non-committal for expanded roles for his first-year guys with the Cancun Challenge up next.
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“As freshmen they were locked in in the first half,” Jacobson said. “They each add value. The first half they looked like they could be out there no matter who we’re playing. In the second half they got turned around a little bit and they made a couple of the same mistakes. So the ability as a young guy without a lot of game experience — talking about all three of them — you’ve got to be so locked in.”
UNI begins the Cancun Challenge Tuesday against West Virginia at 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN).