OKLAHOMA CITY, OK-I’m here live at the Ford Center for the second session of the tournament. Earlier today we had a double overtime game with BYU and Florida. The Kansas State vs. North Texas game wasn’t that interesting.
UNLV is the 8 seed and UNI is the 9 so this should be a pretty even matchup. I feel like Jerry Tarkanian should be here chewing on a towel. And Kurt Warner should be here getting a concussion.
Here are some more vitals: UNLV is 25-8 on the season and a member of the Mountain West Conference. UNI is 28-4 and a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The UNLV band kicks off the night with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem.
UNLV fans are chanting “Re-bels!” The UNI fans are countering with “U N I!”
The crowd seems pretty even. Big applause for both starting lineups. A lot of Kansas fans here getting ready for the late game.
UNI ranks second in scoring defense. “Each possession does take on more significance,” UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger said before the game. “That has been discussed a time or two in practice.”
6:11 Time to tip off. The Rebels control the ball. Here we go!
6:16 UNLV jumps out early 8-7 but the Panthers Jordan Eglseder is killing them down low.
Northern Iowa’s head coach is Ben Jacobson who is a young up and coming coach. He has pride in his team being physical and it is showing early in this game.
6:19 The Panther’s leading scorer for the season is Eglseder. He takes a seat early after committing a foul.
6:24 UNI’s Kerwin Dunham ties the game up 10-10. Just an observation: The Panthers have a lot of white guys with tattoos. Just saying.
6:36 Uni trailing the Rebels 22-15 with an airball. But hold on UNLV fouls and The Panthers keep the ball.
6:37 Eglseder and 1. This guy is big. 7’ and yes, he has tattoos.
6:39 The Rebels Chace Stanback commits a hard foul. His teammates are clearly not happy with him as they chide him in the huddle. UNI’s Adam Koch hits both.
6:41 24-20 Rebels going into a timeout. The coaches aren’t happy with Stanback either as they “discuss” the earlier foul with him.
6:49 Another and 1 for Eglseder. He misses the free throw but UNI has pulled ahead 29-26.
6:50 UNLV knocks down a three to tie it up!
6:52 UNLV’s Anthony Marshall steals the and gets fouled as he slams it. He screams and the Rebel fans scream with him. UNLV 31-29 with Marshall at the line. He misses.
7:05 36-35 at the half, UNLV. The Panther’s defense hasn’t really preceded their reputation in my opinion. The score is respectable and obviously this could go either way. The game has been physical which was what we expected.
Quite a few people have picked UNI to win this game but that doesn’t matter to guard Ali Farokhmanesh, “We know we are probably going to have to play one of our best games we’ve played all year in order to beat them.”
So far Farokhmanesh is the second leading scorer for the Panthers with eight points on the night.
UNI is 0-4 in the last four tournament appearances. Coach Jacobson attributes last year’s loss to inexperience. “We’ve got a chance to play better tomorrow because we have an experienced team as opposed to last year.”
He also compared UNLV to Old Dominion who they beat earlier in the season. Time for the second half.
7:33 16:49 left in the game. Still an evenly matched contest with UNI leading 39-38. Eglseder continues to crash the boards as he is coming close to a double double in the game already. Can you imagine being the radio announcer for this game when Eglseder and Farokhmanesh are in the game? Gazuntite!
7:45 Kendall Wallace spots up and hits a big 3 putting UNLV back on top.
7:46 Farokhmanesh answers with a 3!
7:53 Farokhmanesh hits a three with an assist from Kwadzo Ahelegbe! More names! I feel like I am back at the Olympics.
7:56 Timeout. This game has been pretty wild. It’s gotten a little chippy at times. Panthers lead 53-49.
They just announced the Georgetown score. 63-46 Ohio in the second half. Everyone in the crowd just gasped. Looks like I won’t be winning NCAA 10 from EA Sports.
8:02 Stanback hits a three to put UNLV within four. No one is upset with him right now except for Panther fans.
8:12 The UNLV band is playing “Viva Las Vegas”. The crowd is singing along. I don’t care where they are from, I like bands playing Elvis songs.
8:17 1:56 left in the game. Lon Kruger calls a timeout. UNI is up by three. I love March Madness. This last two minutes could be crazy as the game is already at a feverish pace.
8:22 UNLV has the ball. Under a minute to go and down by 3. Willis hits a 3!
8:24 Farokhmanesh hits a 3 with 4 seconds left. This is insane. The ball gets knocked out of bounds with 1.6 seconds left. I love it, I love it, I love it!
8:26 Timeout. UNLV has the ball. Let’s see what Kruger draws up.
8:27 Willis takes a shot. Its after the buzzer. UNI wins. Final score 69-66. The UNI contingent is strong and they “Ali, Ali, Ali!” as the teams exit the floor.
The final shot was not necasseraly drawn up for Farokhmanesh, “I had no idea (the shot was coming to me). If its your shot you’re going to take it.” The guard added, “Shot felt good as soon as it left my hands…it felt good.”
We’ll see if it feels good on Friday when Northern Iowa takes on the winner of Kansas vs. Lehigh.
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