Cedar Falls, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeremy Morgan scored 18 points and No. 23 Northern Iowa held on to beat Loyola-Chicago 67-58 on Sunday.
Deon Mitchell added 13 points in the win and Seth Tuttle scored nine.
The Panthers (12-2, 1-1 MVC) got their first Missouri Valley Conference win of the season despite going without a field goal over the last 5 1/2 minutes.
It came three days after a loss to Evansville in their league opener, which will likely knock them out of the rankings.
The Panthers needed a win, coach Ben Jacobson said.
"It was extremely important coming off the (loss) that we had," he said.
Milton Doyle scored 13 points to lead Loyola (11-3, 1-1) and Jay Knuth had 12.
The Ramblers had a seven-game winning streak snapped, which included a victory over conference foe Bradley on New Year's Eve.
Knuth's 3-pointer had the Ramblers within nine, but they went the next five minutes without another point while Northern Iowa built a 59-41 lead with a 9-0 run.
Tuttle's layup capped the flurry with 5:31 left and was the Panthers' last field goal.
Though they missed seven foul shots in the last three minutes, the Panthers scored their final eight points at the free throw line, never letting Loyola get closer than seven
Earlier, both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half. Northern Iowa led by as much as nine points late and took a 32-28 edge into the break.
The Panthers improved to 7-0 at home this season and have won their last 10 at McLeod Center.
Northern Iowa leads the all-time series 7-2 ... Devon Turk scored 11 points for Loyola ... Northern Iowa faces Southern Illinois on Wednesday ... Loyola travels to play Evansville on Wednesday.