LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jeremy Morgan scored a game-high 20 points and Spencer Haldeman came off the bench to add 17 points as Northern Iowa stunned Arizona State, 82-63, during Thursday's opening round of the Tire Pros Invitational.
The Sun Devils had averaged 92 points in their first two games, facing their best defensive opponent proved to be problematic.
UNI gave ASU few uncontested shots while benefiting from several open perimeter shots on the other end. Spencer and Haldeman combined to covert nine 3-pointers during the game, while Bennett Koch had his way in the paint with 14 points on six of seven shooting and Klint Carlson came on late to finish with 19 points.
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For the game, UNI (2-0) shot 51 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range compared to 42 percent from the field and 36 percent on 3-pointers by the Sun Devils (2-1).
Torian Graham and Tra Holder led ASU with 19 and 13 points, respectively.
The Panthers used superior ball movement to consistently find the open man whether it was Morgan or Haldeman on the perimeter or Bennett Koch in the post to twice take 10-point leads in the first half before taking a 37-29 advantage into halftime.
UNI knocked down seven 3-pointers in the opening half to separate from ASU. The Sun Devils managed just three 3-pointers in the half.
Morgan and Haldeman both had nine points each on a combined 6-for-6 3-point shooting in the first half, while Koch was 4-for-4 in the paint for eight points. The Panthers shot 48 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range during the first 20 minutes.
Graham led the Sun Devils with 11 points in the first half.
Northern Iowa: In their first real test of the season, the Panthers proved they can be a force in the Missouri Valley Conference and perhaps on the national scene. Morgan, the preseason MVC Player of the Year, and Haldeman didn't flinch against their Pac-12 opponent. Koch also proved he can be unstoppable in the paint when given the space to work.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils got off to an impressive 2-0 start but when faced against a team that can defend and has a nice inside-outside game they were exposed. Senior Obinna Oleka never came close to figuring out how to defend Koch in the post.
By the time the Sun Devils conclude the non-Pac-12 portion of their schedule they will have logged 12,900 travel miles and spent 11 of 25 nights in hotels. Their first stop is Orlando for the Tire Pros Invitational (3,680 miles), then they play Kentucky in the Bahamas on Nov. 28 (4,320), next they face Purdue as part of the Jimmy V Classic in New York on Dec. 6 (4,300) and finally they make the short hop over to play San Diego State on Dec. 10 (600).
Northern Iowa: The Panthers will take on the winner of the Tulane-Oklahoma game on Friday.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils will meet the loser of the Tulane-Oklahoma game on Friday.