Dec 9, 2003
By CHUCK SCHOFFNER
AP Sports Writer
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) – Erik Crawford scored a career-high 24 points and hit two late 3-pointers, lifting Northern Iowa to a 77-66 victory over No. 24 Iowa on Tuesday night.
Northern Iowa (3-3) had been 0-for-14 on 3-pointers before hitting three straight in the final 5? minutes to pull away from the Hawkeyes (6-1), who broke into the Top 25 for the first time this season Monday.
It was the second straight time Northern Iowa upset a nationally ranked Iowa team in Cedar Falls. Iowa was ranked 11th when it lost 78-76 here in 2001.
Pierre Pierce led Iowa with 15 points but had only one in the second half. Jared Reiner scored 12 and Jeff Horner 11.
Northern Iowa was holding a 64-61 lead and the shot clock was about to run out when Crawford launched a high arching 3-point shot from the left wing. The shot-clock buzzer sounded while the ball was in the air and dropped through the net for a 67-61 lead with 3:02 remaining.
After Horner made a free throw, Northern Iowa again milked the clock and kicked the ball out to Crawford. This time, he nailed a 3 from just left of the key with 2 seconds on the shot clock, giving the Panthers 70-62 lead with 2:08 to play.
Two free throws by Brooks McKowen made it 72-62, a big enough cushion for Northern Iowa to hold on. Crawford and McKowen, a freshman, each sank two free throws in the final minute to secure the victory.
McKowen finished with 15 points and Matt Schneiderman added 11 for Northern Iowa. Crawford’s previous best had been 14 points as a freshman at Bowling Green two years ago.
It was 39-all at halftime and neither team could pull away from the other until Northern Iowa finally connected from long range.
After Iowa tied it at 59 on Greg Brunner’s three-point play, McKowen hit Northern Iowa’s first 3 of the night with 5:27 left to break the tie and the Panthers led the rest of the way.
Iowa shot 55 percent in the first half but was just 9-for-30 in the second half, including 1-for-11 on 3-pointers.