Northern Iowa (5-10, 3-6) vs. Southern Illinois (7-6, 1-6)
Banterra Center, Carbondale, Illinois; Sunday, 6 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Northern Iowa looks to extend Southern Illinois’s conference losing streak to seven games. Southern Illinois’ last MVC win came against the Evansville Purple Aces 63-57 on Dec. 27, 2020. Northern Iowa beat Southern Illinois by 12 on the road in its last outing.
STEPPING UP: The Panthers are led by their senior tandem of Austin Phyfe and Trae Berhow. Phyfe has averaged 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds while Berhow has put up 12 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. The Salukis have been led by sophomores Lance Jones and Ben Harvey, who are scoring 12.4 and 11.2 points, respectively.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Panthers have given up only 73.1 points per game across nine conference games, an improvement from the 79.8 per game they gave up over four non-conference games.JUMPING FOR JONES: Jones has connected on 37.3 percent of the 51 3-pointers he’s attempted and has gone 9 for 26 over his last five games. He’s also converted 77.2 percent of his free throws this season.
WINLESS WHEN: Northern Iowa is 0-7 when scoring fewer than 68 points and 5-3 when scoring at least 68.
UNDEFEATED WHEN: Southern Illinois is a flawless 7-0 when its defense holds opponents to a field goal percentage of 45.6 percent or less. The Salukis are 0-6 when they let opponents to shoot any better than that.
RECENT GAMES: Southern Illinois has averaged only 59.4 points per game over its last five games. The Salukis are giving up 74.6 points per game over that stretch.
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