CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - Entering Sunday's game, at least three teams were in Northern Iowa's rearview mirror for the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers gave themselves a little breathing room after beating Southern Illinois, 64-52.
The Panthers caught fire early and were up 24-11 in the first 10 minutes of the first half. Then their shooting got cold and Southern Illinois closed out the half on a 23-2 run and led 34-26 at halftime.
Northern Iowa responded in the second half outscoring the Salukis 38-18.
Austin Phyfe finished with a team-high 17 points.
Panthers are one game up in the standings on two-time defending champion Loyola. They host Evansville on Wednesday at 7 p.m.