Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - Northern Iowa used a balanced attack to earn a 71-54 win over Wyoming in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The fifth-seeded Panthers (31-3) had five players reach double figures, led by Paul Jesperson with 16 points off the bench. Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Seth Tuttle finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, Nate Buss added 13 points and Deon Mitchell and Wes Washpun had 10 apiece.
"The important thing is that we got 10 guys that are capable of really helping our team," said Tuttle. "As the game showed today, we had a lot of guys step up for us."
UNI will take on fourth-seeded Louisville on Sunday.
Larry Nance Jr. paced the 12th-seeded Cowboys (25-10) with 16 points, including 15 in the second half. Charles Hankerson Jr. scored 15 on a career- high five 3-pointers.
"First thing out of my mouth is definitely going to be compliments to Northern Iowa," said Cowboys coach Larry Shyatt. "They're terrific."
Northern Iowa opened the second half on an 8-0 run to open a 19-point lead. It would lead by as many as 21 before Nance got the Cowboys back in the game.
Nance's dunk at 15:01 was his first field goal of the game. He totaled 12 points on five straight Wyoming possessions and assisted on Riley Grabau's 3 on the next trip. A minute later, Hankerson hit his fifth 3 to cut UNI's lead to single digits for the first time since the midpoint of the first half.
Jesperson responded at the other end with a triple of his own to start a stretch of five straight shots made by the Panthers. Washpun, the MVC Sixth Man of the Year, hit three of those shots. UNI hit seven of its last eight free throws to close the game.
Wyoming made its first four shots of the game, but offense was difficult to come by for the rest of the half. The Cowboys were just 5-of-17 after that, but four of those shots were 3s from Hankerson.
The Panthers led by as many as 13 in the first half, and took a 35-24 lead into the break after Mitchell and Hankerson traded 3s in the final minute.
UNI set a school record with its 31st win ... The Panthers' reserves outscored Wyoming's bench by a 41-2 margin ... The Cowboys made just three of their nine attempts at the free-throw line ... Kurt Warner, two-time NFL MVP and UNI grad, attended the game and spoke to the team after the win.