UMD has Hands Full with NIU's Sharpshooters

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Maryland will attempt to shut down Northern Iowa's sharpshooters Sunday night at the Paradise Jam.

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Wichita State had a two-point lead over Northern Iowa, 66-64, with 4.1 seconds remaining. Panthers junior guard Ben Jacobson caught a pass just over half court, dribbled straight down the far sideline across from the Northern Iowa bench and in front of the scorer's table. He finally pulled up at the rounded corner of the perimeter, just beyond the arc with less than two seconds to go.

Then Jacobson, who had air-balled his only other 3-point shot in the game, pulled up, squared his shoulders, and left the ground. His body hung in the air as he double-clutched, and pushed the Panthers' last hope towards the hoop. As time expired, the ball kissed off the inside of the rim and swished through the net as the horn sounded.

Jacobson pounded on the scorer's table in delight, while his jubilant teammates joined him in his celebration. At half court, Shockers head coach Mark Turgeon turned away, his face fully conveying the rare combination of disbelief, agony and disgust.

"This is no fun right now," an emotional Mark Turgeon said after the loss in 2005. "This hurts more than I can express."

Eight years later that memory still sticks with Turgeon, who will now face his once familiar MVC foe, Northern Iowa, as the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins in the semifinal round of the 2013 Paradise Jam Tournament at 7:00 p.m. (EST) at the University of the Virgin Islands.

Turgeon will finally get his shot at revenge against Ben Jacobson … just not the same Ben Jacobson who hit that memorable buzzer beater back in 2005. The Panthers current head coach, Ben Jacobson, was an assistant at Northern Iowa in 2005, but he wasn't the one who drained the final shot.

In Turgeon's seven years as the head coach at Wichita State, he learned plenty about Northern Iowa -- experience which should come in handy as the Terps prepare to face the Panthers Sunday night.

"I played them a lot of games. They are obviously very well coached, they have a lot of shooters they have a good big man in [Seth] Tuttle and they have two little guards who can break you down off ball screens so they will be a lot harder to guard then the team we guarded tonight," Turgeon said. "We'll have to use our length and play a lot smarter, but if we play well it should be a great game.

"We'll have to make some jump shots. They are going to sag it in, and hopefully in the end our size will help us with offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds, but it should be a great game."

The Panthers are a sharpshooting but slightly undersized team that has the capability to score a lot of points. Northern Iowa had three players with more than 20 points in their 91-81 win over Loyola Marymount on Friday in the first round of the 2013 Paradise Jam Tournament.

"They are playing differently then they did when I coached there [at Wichita State]. They have these two little guards, they are spreading it out, a lot of ball screen action, they are running a lot more sets," Turgeon said. "I think [Jacobson and I] are both comfortable coaching against each other and the systems, so its whoever plays well Sunday night will win the game."

One of the "two little guards" Turgeon referred to is junior Deon Mitchell, who led the Panthers with 23 points in their opening round win over LMU. Mitchell is averaging 14.8 points per game this season and is shooting 55.6 percent from the field through the first four games. The Terps must keep a hand in his face. He doesn't need much space to get his shot off, and when he has time to catch and shoot, Mitchell can put up points in a hurry.

The second of the "two small guards," is sophomore Matt Bohnannon, who had 22 points in the Panthers' win on Friday. Bohannon is shooting 52.9 percent from beyond the arc this season, and he has been playing some of his best basketball as of late. The Panthers' guard tallied back-to-back career highs with a 19-point performance against George Mason (Nov. 16) and a 22-point game against LMU in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament.

Northern Iowa got out to a fast start against Loyola Marymount, hitting 10 of its first 14 3-pointers. For the game, the Panthers hit 12 of their 21 for an impressive 57.1 percent success rate. Northern Iowa is averaging over 8 3s per game this season, and has connected on over 40 percent of their treys during their two other wins this season. On the flip side, the Panthers went 6-of-22 and 6-of-21, from long range in both losses this year.

Indeed, most of NIU's scoring comes from the outside as the team hasn't done much in the paint. That bodes well for the Terps, who have struggled with their post defense this season.

Inside, Northern Iowa will try to get the ball into junior forward Seth Tuttle, who is a blue-collar workhorse down on the blocks. He leads the Panthers with 30 rebounds this season, including 23 defensive rebounds. That means he will take away Maryland's second-chance scoring opportunities if the Terps don't get in front of him on their box outs.

Senior forward Chip Rank earned himself a spot in the starting rotation for the first time this season against Loyola Marymount, and he leads the team with 10 3-pointers so far this season.

A key for Maryland will be its defense; can the Terps hold the Panthers to less than 80 points?

UNI is 28-1 all-time when scoring 80 or more points under Jacobsen, and the Panthers have won 23 straight when scoring 80 or more points. While Northern Iowa isn't the biggest team, the Panthers' ability to shoot the ball form beyond the arc had been the key to their success this season. It will be up to Maryland's defense, which showed improvements during the last game against Marist, to lock down the perimeter in order to come away with a win Sunday night.

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