The Jays took another step today in their quest to make a run at the conference championship by knocking off league leading Northern Iowa today breaking their 11 game streak. Out-rebounded by 20. P’Allen Stinnett and Booker Woodfox basically shut down. Josh Dotzler taking two three-point shots in a row down the stretch and hitting one of them at just the right time. Northern Iowa had a an almost 20 free throw discrepancy against the Jays. Everything that could have been going against the Jays seemed to be, but somehow, the Jays were able to pull out this win on the road.
Once again it was another team effort. Again, another spectacular performance by Justin Carter who tied his career high in points and got his consistent 6 rebounds. But he also dished out 4 assists. The fact that this team won the game with so much going against them, it really shows how much this team has grown over the past few weeks.
What I mentioned in the pregame was that the Jays needed to contain Adam Koch and keep him from getting more free throws himself than the whole opposing team. Luckily for the Jays, he was the only one that really had anything going today as he shot 13-13 from the free throw line, had 23 points and 12 rebounds. But the thing that hurt UNI was their shooting. The Jays held them to 29% from the field and 19% from three. Johnny Moran and the two other guards whose names I can’t pronounce were a combined 7-27 from the field.
Kenny Lawson had a great first half and played with a lot of fire, but sort of disappeared in the 2nd half. Kaleb Korver hit some key three-pointers in the first half and although Cavel Witter has been relatively quiet for the last several games, he hit 4 iceman free-throws in the last couple of minutes that helped keep the lead for the Jays and win the game. Now on Josh Dotzler’s huge 3-pointer. Josh had just put one up about 20 seconds before that and it looked like a shotput coming off his hands. Then when he put up that second one…that takes guts. If anyone ever doubted his leadership, they should not have after that.
Now comes the drama. The Jays are now by themselves in 2nd place in the Valley after the implosion of Bradley this week losing 2 games and Illinois St. losing at home to Indiana St. in overtime falling a game back. The Jays now are looking like they have the opportunity with a little help to still have a chance at the MVC regular season championship. The Jays have Bradley, Illinois St. and Evansville at home yet. We are not sure how Northern Iowa will respond to this loss after winning so many in a row. A stumble against Drake or SIU or Illinois St. or even Wichita St. by UNI and if the Jays continue to win, it is a real possibility they could still contend for a regular season crown.
So we are all back on the Blue Koolaid again. As long as the team effort is there, the Jays have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way. It becomes even more important to fill the Qwest and make some noise and protect the home court. The MVC drama is in full force. How will it end? It should be a fun ride to find out.