In 244 games as Northern Iowa’s head coach, Ben Jacobson has earned a reputation for defense and controlling the pace of play.
Fred Hoiberg’s Iowa State team scored 92 points Saturday against UNI in a thrilling comeback victory in Des Moines. The only Jacobson opponent to score more points (93) was Auburn in 2008. The Panthers won that game, however, 105-93.
UNI efficiently built an 18-point lead early in the second half against the Cyclones. It must have been Iowa State’s resurgent offense that led to the third-largest comeback win in school history, right?
It’s true that ISU scored 2.48 points per minute in the second half and overtime against the Panthers after tallying just 1.45 ppm in the first half. But, the turn-around according to Hoiberg, came on the defensive end.
“Our #1 goal was to get stops and then be able to get out and run,” Hoiberg said on his post-game radio interview. “The absolute opposite (is what happened).”
The Cyclones’ defensive pressure in the second half intensified.
“There were 5-6 straight possessions where they didn’t get a shot off and that allowed us to get run outs,” Hoiberg said. “We had 10 points in transition against a team that doesn’t give up many.”
Iowa State has had more transition points in every game but Michigan this year. At halftime Saturday, UNI had a 5-2 advantage. It was 8-2 for the Cyclones the remainder of the game.
Certainly, 92 points on the scoreboard looked good. Defense is what fueled it.