Scouting the Panthers

By Sean Carley, @SCarleyDE

The Saluki men’s basketball team kick off 2016 with a home game against the Panthers of Northern Iowa.

Northern Iowa (9-5, 1-0 Missouri Valley) has received national recognition this year for its upsets of then-No. 1 North Carolina at home Nov. 21 and No. 5 Iowa State on Dec. 19.

UNI received votes in both the Associated Press and Coaches top 25 polls earlier this season, but never cracked the list.


The Panthers are 20th out of 351 teams in overall field goal percentage at 49.2 percent and 24th in three-point field goal percentage at 39.8 percent.

The Salukis are ranked 210th in field goal defense, allowing 43.5 percent, even without a size advantage. Their three-point field goal defense is one of the conference’s top at 29.9 percent.

The Panthers are led by preseason All-MVC honorable mention senior guard Wes Washpun, who averages 14.9 points per game. His 6.3 assists per game lead the MVC and is 19th in the country.

Senior forward Paul Jesperson, senior guard Matt Bohannon and junior guard Jeremy Morgan all average double-figures for UNI at 12.6, 12.3 and 12.1 points per game.

While the starters are strong for Northern Iowa, the Panthers are not that deep on their bench. Panthers reserves score 20.3 points a game, less than SIU’s 24.3 bench points per game

There has been one common opponent between the Salukis and Panthers: North Texas. It’s difficult to draw much from this, as both teams beat the Mean Green by more than 20 points. The Salukis also beat North Texas again at home on Dec. 12 by eight points.

If the Dawgs are to pull off the upset, they’ll have to step up defensively and stay out of foul trouble to limit UNI’s scoring opportunities.


Sean Carley can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3304