James Scores 26 as Northern Iowa Wins 83-68

Northern Iowa's Jake Koch, left, grabs a rebound away from Drake's David Smith, right, in an NCAA college basketball game at the Drake Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Des Moines Register, Bill Neibergall)

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By James Steward

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Anthony James scored 26 points and Jake Koch added 18 as Northern Iowa pulled away for an 83-68 victory over Drake on Saturday night.

Northern Iowa (12-4, 2-2 Missouri Valley) trailed 35-34 at halftime.

About halfway through the second half, Northern Iowa went on a 13-2 run after a tie and Drake (8-7, 1-3) could not recover.

Northern Iowa got help from its bench players, who combined to score 17 points.

Northern Iowa had a successful night at free-throw line, converting 27 of 34. Koch was 13 of 14. Koch also had eight rebounds to help his team build a 34-25 advantage.

Drake's Rayvonte Rice led all scorers with 27 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Jordan Clarke had 11 rebounds.

N. IOWA (12-4)

Tuttle 0-1 0-0 0, Koch 2-6 13-14 18, Moran 4-5 1-2 11, Sonnen 5-7 0-0 11, James 9-15 8-12 26, Mitchell 2-4 4-4 8, Rank 2-3 1-2 5, Morrison 0-2 0-0 0, Martino 0-0 0-0 0, Pehl 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 26-47 27-34 83.

DRAKE (8-7)

Clarke 2-5 1-2 5, Jeffers 3-5 1-2 8, Simons 5-10 0-0 11, Madison 2-5 0-0 5, Rice 8-17 9-12 27, Hawley 1-4 0-0 2, Alexander 2-6 6-6 10, Woods 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 17-22 68.

Halftime_Drake 35-34. 3-Point Goals_N. Iowa 4-8 (Moran 2-3, Sonnen 1-1, Koch 1-3, Rank 0-1), Drake 5-18 (Rice 2-7, Jeffers 1-2, Madison 1-3, Simons 1-4, Hawley 0-1, Alexander 0-1). Fouled Out_Clarke, Jeffers. Rebounds_N. Iowa 34 (Koch 8), Drake 25 (Clarke 11). Assists_N. Iowa 9 (Sonnen 4), Drake 7 (Madison, Simons 2). Total Fouls_N. Iowa 19, Drake 27. A_5,876.
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