CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Adam Koch scored 11 consecutive points for Northern Iowa down the stretch and the 24th-ranked Panthers rallied to beat Southern Illinois 55-52 on Saturday.
The Panthers (21-2, 12-1 Missouri Valley) improved to 11-0 at home this season with their seventh straight win over the Salukis in Cedar Falls. Koch had 16 of his 21 points in the second half.
Tony Freeman scored 17 points and Justin Bocot finished with 10 for Southern Illinois (13-10, 5-8).
The Panthers trailed 47-42 before Koch took over. He hit two free throws, a 3-pointer and scored inside to tie it at 49. He added four straight free throws in the final minute, and Ali Farokhmanesh also had two foul shots in the final seconds for Northern Iowa.
Kwadzo Ahelegbe scored 10 points for the Panthers, all in the second half.
Freeman made consecutive 3-pointers to give Southern Illinois a 25-23 lead early in the second half, but Farokhmanesh got the lead back for Northern Iowa with a 3. At that point, Freeman had outscored his teammates 14-11.
Freeman also made a tiebreaking 3-pointer during an 8-0 run that gave the Salukis a 42-35 lead with 6:09 left. Bocot, who had five points during the surge, capped it off with a steal and dunk but was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
Farokhmanesh went 1 for 2 on the resulting free throws and Johnny Moran hit a 3-pointer to get the Panthers right back in the game.
The game was tied at 18 after an ugly first half. Southern Illinois shot 35 percent and committed 12 turnovers before intermission, while Northern Iowa shot 33.3 percent and had nine turnovers.
It was the lowest-scoring half of the season for the Salukis and the second-lowest for the Panthers.