CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Jake Koch scored 13 points and Northern Iowa shot 54.3 percent to whip South Carolina State 66-52 Friday night in a first-round game of the iBN Las Vegas Classic.
The Panthers (6-3) also got 10 points from Johnny Moran and a game-high nine rebounds from Lucas O'Rear. Northern Iowa made 25 of 46 shots in winning its 20th straight home game.Darnell Porter led the Bulldogs (4-5) with 15 points, including four 3-pointers.South Carolina State led by seven early, but Northern Iowa took the lead for good when Kwadzo Ahelegbe hit a 3-pointer with 6:14 left in the first half for an 18-16 edge. That was part of an 11-0 spurt.The Panthers led 31-18 at intermission.The Bulldogs closed within single digits with 6:50 left when Tyvon Williams scored to make it 50-42. But Northern Iowa responded with 11 in a row, including six by Moran.