Iowa State vs Northern Iowa men’s basketball: Three players to watch


Last time Northern Iowa took on Iowa State, both Deon Mitchell and Seth Tuttle started as freshmen. They won by seven at Hilton Coliseum, and now those same two players are back in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, to try and grab another one from the Cyclones – along with a weapon off the bench that the boys in cardinal and gold will need to prepare for.

Dec 8, 2012; Fairfax, VA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers guard Deon Mitchell (1) collides with a George Mason Patriots defender while taking a shot during the first half at the Patriot Center. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports

Tuttle was dominant with nine points and 12 rebounds, and made all four of his field goal attempts. Mitchell had a less successful day, playing just 12 minutes with zero baskets. But so did Iowa State’s Melvin Ejim, who had foul trouble and played in just 11 minutes.

Which players will step this time around in the biennial rivalry? Here are the contenders.

Deon Mitchell (UNI guard, #1, Jr.)

Mitchell’s currently the team’s point leader, averaging 14.3 per game. He’s starting to become more comfortable passing the ball, but as the assists have gone up, so have the turnovers – he’s committed the same amount in the two previous games, in which the Panthers went 1-1.

Melvin Ejim (ISU forward, #3, Sr.)

Ejim wasn’t much of a threat last time Iowa State played UNI with no points and three fouls in 11 minutes of play. The only other teammate that faced the Panthers two seasons ago is Percy Gibson. Considering Ejim didn’t play up to his standards in the Cyclones’ previous game against Auburn,

Seth Tuttle (UNI forward, #10, Jr.)

Foul problems have plagued Tuttle so far this season, and he’s on pace to commit around 100 of them. UNI needs him on the floor or else rebounds will be an issue for them; in their latest loss to Milwaukee, Tuttle had foul trouble the team was outrebounded by nine. Tuttle needs to stay in the game against Iowa State.

Honorary mention: Panthers G Wes Washpun

The Cyclones can’t sleep on Washpun, who played 29 minutes in the loss to Wisconsin and had 16 points and five rebounds, including making 8 of 9 from the free throw line. The transfer from Tennessee has averaged around the same amount of time Mitchell as played on average and has a better assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.4)