CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Tywhon Pickford and Austin Phyfe combined to score 43 points and Northern Iowa held off Valparaiso late, 81-76 to earn its first Missouri Valley Conference victory on Saturday night.
Northern Iowa now has won 23 of the 25 meetings between the schools.
The Panthers took a 32-21 lead after a half and Phyfe converted a three-point play and a layup to push the lead to 23 points, 46-23 five minutes into the second period. Northern Iowa maintained a 20-point advantage for the next 10 minutes before the Crusaders finally managed to cut the deficit to single digits on a Micah Bradford jumper with 2:37 left to make it 71-62.
Max Joseph hit a layup and Markus Golder hit a 3 to get the deficit to five points, 74-69, but the Panthers (9-9, 1-5) hit 6 of 8 from the line to seal the win.
Pickford was 6 of 6 shooting from the field, hitting all 4 of his 3-point attempts, and finished with 23 points. Phyfe was 6 of 7 from the floor and 8 for 8 from the line to add 20.
Bakari Evelyn and Golder finished with 19 and 18 points, respectively, to lead Valparaiso (11-8, 2-4).