Creighton’s Doug McDermott walked to the free throw line with 1:21 remaining in the game. The constant hum of voices within the McLeod Center began replaying the previous 19 minutes of the second half.
As the Northern Iowa student section began hazing the Bluejays’ junior, press row and fans sitting behind realized a made free throw would be McDermott’s first points of the half.
He sunk the first and missed the second. A dunk home with 0.2 on the clock added to his total, but that was it.
The Northern Iowa defense struck again.
Three points in the final 20 minutes for the player who now ranks second in the nation in scoring.
After the game, questions flew at UNI head coach Ben Jacobson aimed at the cliché of taking one thing away and let others beat you.
“We talked some yesterday and again prior to the game, about trying to take away both things, as hard as that is and as hard as that sounds,” Jacobson said after the Feb. 13 game. “But we’ve got to take away some stuff on the block and we’ve still got to get to shooters. We can’t settle for just taking one away and feeling like we’ve done our job. It’s asking a lot of players, but to beat a very, very good team you have to.”
Tuesday the Missouri Valley Conference released its all-conference team including all-defensive squad. The team didn’t include a single Panther.
The glaring oversight is senior guard Marc Sonnen, who matches up with the opposing team’s top scoring guard every night. If it’s a big man, senior Jake Koch takes the responsibility with help from sophomore Seth Tuttle.
Looking over the last 30 games of the season, excluding Wartburg, UNI held the opposing team’s leading scorer to 1.96 points less than average.
The chart below shows how the Panthers fared against its opponents’ leading scorer at that time. For example, when UNI played Iowa, Aaron White was leading the Hawkeyes in scoring average, which is why his name appears and not Devyn Marble’s.
Some overall takeaways:
- In conference play, UNI held opponents’ leading scorers to 2.12 less points per game on average.
- In non-conference play, it held leading scorers to 1.7 less than average.
- In total, leading scorers amassed 61 points less than if each poured in their season average.
- Evansville’s Colt Ryan enjoyed the most success against UNI. He is +11.3 above his season average at the time the two teams met. His +5.5 and +5.8 are the highest of any player.
- Drake’s Ben Simons finished with the worst output of any leading scorer at -17.6. Simons scored six points in both games against UNI. Creighton held Simons to four points – a season low– but the guard bounced back scoring 13 the second time around.
- Northern Iowa held Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael to five points in the season finale, 12.8 points below his average, the most of any UNI opponent. The five points tied for his worst output of the year.
- St. Mary’s Matthew Dellavedova scored nine points, 10.5 below his average entering the game.
- Bradley’s Walt Lemon Jr. scored four points in his first meeting against UNI, his worst performance of the year.
- Not listed, UNI held Stanford’s Dwight Powell, who now leads the Cardinal in scoring at 15.3 ppg, to two points, tied for his worst output of the season.
- Devyn Marble produced the best game compared to his season average of any current leading scorer. Marble had a season-high 30 points which is 15.6 points more than his average.
- When UNI played Northern Colorado, both Tevin Svihovec and Tate Unruh lead the team in scoring at 11.2. Both scored more than that, but the Panthers held Derrick Barden, who now averages 13.4 ppg – 0.2 behind Unruh for the team high – to a season low two points.
- If Barden scored his average against UNI, he’d lead Northern Colorado in scoring.
- If Milwaukee’s Aaron Jordan put in 17, like he averaged when he played the Panthers, his season average would be 14.65. Paris Gulley leads the Panthers at 14.69.
- Jackie Carmichael entered the final regular season game leading Illinois State and scoring. When he left UNI, teammate Tyler brown surpassed him.