Panthers struggle to score, trail at half

March, 19, 2009
03/19/09
3:34
PM ET
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Northern Iowa's Johnny Moran made a 3-pointer. His teammate Kwadzo Ahelegbe hit a fadeaway jumper.

Those were two nice moments for the 12th-seeded Panthers in the first half against No. 5 Purdue.

But the problem is they came eight minutes apart. In between, the UNI side of the scoreboard was silent.

If we all can agree you have to score to win -- and particularly to post an NCAA tournament upset -- then we can take a leap of faith and say that going eight minutes without a point is a bad thing.

It was a period of shock and awe for the Panthers against an athletically superior team, as a two-point lead became a 12-point deficit.

The Panthers gamely fought back, however, and find themselves at least within fairly reasonable striking distance, trailing by that same margin, 32-20 at the break.

Purdue is dominating the boards, 18-11 overall and 7-4 on the offensive side.

To get back into this one, perhaps a dim prospect in itself, the Panthers will need to do better than 2-of-9 from the 3-point line, which won't be easy against a defense that holds opponents to a .389 shooting percentage, tops in the Big Ten.

Ted Miller | email

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