CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP)—Ben Jacobsen had a chance to give Northern Iowa a much-needed victory.
Instead, his 3-pointer from the corner fell short and the No. 25 Panthers lost their second consecutive game since reclaiming a spot in the Top 25, falling 46-45 to Southern Illinois on Saturday.
Tony Young banked in a game-winning 8-foot jumper with 7 seconds left to pull out the win for the Salukis.
Matt Shaw scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting for Southern Illinois (19-10, 12-6 Missouri Valley), which held a 24-20 halftime lead despite shooting 35 percent from the field in the first half.
Shaw also connected on two 3-pointers, more than the entire Northern Iowa team managed. Jamaal Tatum scored 11 points in the win.
Grant Stout led the way for Northern Iowa, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting with a game-high eight rebounds.
Jacobsen added 14 points and five assists, but the Panthers (22-8, 11-7) committed nine costly first-half turnovers and shot 11 percent from 3-point range.
“Turnovers were really the difference in the game,” Northern Iowa coach Greg McDermott said.
With the win, the Salukis secured either a second or third seed in the upcoming conference tournament in St. Louis on March 2-5. After four consecutive years as the top seed, Southern Illinois relinquished that title to Wichita State this year.
“First place is already gone,” Young said. “So right now it’s more of a confidence-booster to get us going and get us back rolling as a team.”
Northern Iowa lost ground in the Missouri Valley race. After earning their first national ranking in January and appearing in the Top 25 in three of the last four polls, the Panthers could end up as the fifth or sixth seed in St. Louis.