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No. 15 Wichita State loses second straight conference game, falls to Northern Iowa

Feb 2, 2013, 6:44 PM EDT

Northern Iowa Wichita State AP

The Missouri Valley has not been kind to No. 15 Wichita State this week.

Four days after falling to a pesky Indiana State team, the Shockers lost on the road to unranked Northern Iowa, 57-52, Saturday at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Carl Hall was the lone bright spot for Wichita State Saturday, going 8-of-13 from the field for 20 points and five rebounds.

His steal and layup with 1:17 to play cut the Shocker deficit to two points, 52-50. He also blocked a shot with under a minute to play and Wichita State down two, 54-52, but the Shockers were not able to capitalize on the offensive end and tie the game.

Northern Iowa allowed Wichita State to hang around in the final minutes by going 6-of-10 from the free throw line in the final 2:47, but the Panther defense locked up on the game’s final possession to secure the win.

On that final possession, Wichita State guard Malcolm Armstead was bothered by pressure and dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds. It was his fourth turnover of the game.

Aside from Hall, Wichita State was 13-of-39 from the field.

Down the stretch, Wichita State tried to work the ball to forward Cleanthony Early on the block with limited success. He was called for a reach-in foul in the backcourt with 2:47 to play and fouled out, leaving the Shockers without his post presence down the stretch. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds.

For as strong a defensive team as Wichita State is, Northern Iowa matched or exceeding the pressure on that end of the floor Saturday. The Panthers held WSU to 40 percent shooting.

The Missouri Valley Conference race will continue to be one of the most intriguing heading into the final month of the regular season. Wichita State falls to 8-3, but remains in second behind Creighton (9-2) and just ahead of Indiana State (7-3).

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_