UNI Beats Toledo 84-81 in Overtime

By Michael Bonner, Reporter

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By KCRG Sports

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The postgame high fives became postgame thank yous. Deon Mitchell sat alone deflecting credit to Seth Tuttle’s steal. Tuttle acknowledged Jake Koch’s appreciated the same play.

Sitting next to Tuttle, senior guard Marc Sonnen threw even more props his teammates.

“If you’re not playing that well, we’ve got teammates that lift you. Deon’s lifting people, and that’s something, he’s getting way better,” Sonnen said. “He’s playing so amazing right now. He gets us all jacked up.”

But don’t forget his partner in crime, “And same with him,” Sonnen continued, nodding toward Tuttle.

The sophomore tandem could try to bypass all the compliments, but their performances wouldn’t allow it. Mitchell dropped 27 and Tuttle scored 21 points to lead the Panthers to an 84-81 win over Toledo Wednesday night. Nine of Tuttle’s points came in overtime.

“I’m not sure, it just kind of came to me there in overtime,” Tuttle said. But its wasn’t his point total that had Koch and Mitchell giving him props, it was one of his two steals. It came when Toledo inbounded the ball underneath its own basket, trailing by one with nine seconds left. It was a result of Koch asking for timeout, but receiving a five-second call.

“A guy cut backdoor that I seen. I just turned and threw it right to my hands,” Tuttle said. “It wasn’t, I just kind of happened, I guess…It just kind of bounced off my hand. It was just kind of flukish, but we’ll take it that’s for sure.”

Whatever he did, Tuttle came up with the steal and went down to the other end of the court and made both free throws. Up by three on the ensuing possession, the Panthers held Toledo to a last second fadaway heave from 25 feet out.

“With our experience and just how tough our guys is on the team, we just know that when we go out there we trust each other,” senior Marc Sonnen said. “I think that’s what makes it a lot better this year, is we are focused on getting a stop not matter what happens.”

While the Panthers trusted Tuttle in overtime, they leaned on another sophomore through the first 40 minutes of the game.

Mitchell carried the Panthers in the first half, dropping 16 points, along with four assists. His career highs entering the game were 18 and six respectively.

“He’s prepared himself very well. We saw that again tonight,” Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobsen said. “We’ve seen it in all four games now. He did it tonight against a good team tonight and against, for the most part experienced guards… Boy that stretch in the first half was impressive.”

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