Penn, Drake light up MVC champ N Iowa in quarters 77-56

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) — Roman Penn scored a career-high 26 points, including 12 straight to start a game-breaking 18-0 run midway through the second half, and eighth-seeded Drake shocked Missouri Valley Conference champion Northern Iowa 77-56 in a quarterfinal game on Friday.

The Bulldogs shot 59% and led by as many as 16 before settling for a 43-33 halftime lead. The top-seeded Panthers battled back and three times Austin Phyfe pulled them within two, the last time at 50-48 with 12:36 to play.

Shortly after that, Penn went to work. It started with a pair of free throws at the 10:50 mark. He followed up with a couple of layups and a pair of 3-pointers. After teammate Liam Robbins scored inside, Penn hit another jumper and Garrett Sturtz capped the 18-0 run with a pair of free throws for a 67-48 lead with 2:28 to play.

Drake (20-13), which reached 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1971, faces fourth-seeded Bradley in the semifinals on Saturday.

Isaiah Brown’s 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining ended Northern Iowa’s drought that featured 11 empty possessions with 10 missed shots, a missed front end of a one-and-one and two turnovers after offensive rebounds.

Penn, a 5-foot-11 guard, also had eight rebounds and eight assists. Robbins added 17 points with nine rebounds and four blocks.

Northern Iowa (25-6), which won the first meeting at home 83-73, was led by AJ Green with 19 points, although he was just 8-of-25 shooting. Trae Berhow, who averages more than 13 points, was scoreless. The Panthers were 5 of 25 from distance and shot 31% overall.


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