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Northern Iowa to face New Mexico State at Sanford Pentagon

07/21/2020, 10:00am CDT
By Sanford Media Relations

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Sanford Pentagon will host Northern Iowa and New Mexico State in a regular-season men’s college basketball game on Sunday, December 13. Both schools were projected to make the 2020 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Tickets will go on sale later. Television coverage will determine a start time.

Division I games take many months to negotiate and finalize, and this matchup was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Sanford Pentagon will work closely with the schools and individual states and be ready to adjust based on guidelines and safety measures for all involved.

The contest will be Northern Iowa’s and New Mexico State’s first trip to the Pentagon, which has hosted 28 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games since opening in 2013. Iowa and Oregon State are also slated to play at the Pentagon on December 22.

“Northern Iowa and New Mexico State are coming off incredible seasons with many of their core players returning, which makes for a great matchup,” said Steve Young, president of Sanford Sports. “We are excited to add another Division I game to our schedule and provide these two teams with a safe environment to compete while battling for an important non-conference win on a neutral court.”

A member of the Missouri Valley Conference, Northern Iowa is coming off a 25-6 season, and a first place conference finish with a mark of 14-4. The 2020 MVC Larry Bird Player of the Year, AJ Green (19.7 ppg), returns for the Panthers, along with First Team All-MVC selection, Austin Phyee.

“We are thrilled to be playing New Mexico State at the Pentagon. Scheduling is always a challenge and this game gives us a tremendous opponent in a great venue,” said Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson. “New Mexico State has been terrific, they are extremely well-coached, play really hard, and will once again be in the hunt for their championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament. We want to thank everyone who helped put this game together and we look forward to a great game.”

New Mexico State finished the 2019-20 season with a 25-6 record, including a perfect conference season in the WAC (16-0) and 19 wins in a row to finish the year. The Aggies were scheduled to play Chicago State in the first round of the WAC Tournament before it was canceled due to COVID-19. New Mexico State returns All-WAC First Team selection Jabari Rice and its leading rebounder and shot blocker, Johnny McCants.

"We are looking forward to competing against UNI at the Sanford Pentagon. This is an excellent opportunity for us to play a high-caliber program at a great venue,” said New Mexico State head coach Chris Jans. “UNI is loaded with talented players and is led by a coaching staff that is considered one of the best in college basketball. The Panthers will likely enter the season as a top-25 program and will be the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference. We appreciate the staff at the Pentagon for all they did to make this game happen."

This will be the inaugural meeting between the two teams.

DI Men’s Basketball Games at the Sanford Pentagon

Date Game
Nov. 8, 2013 Wisconsin 86, St. John's 75
Nov. 18, 2014 Wichita State 71, Memphis 56
Nov. 30, 2014 Florida Gulf Coast 71, South Dakota State 58
Dec. 13, 2014 UNLV 75, South Dakota 61
Nov. 13, 2015 Iowa State 68, Colorado 62
Dec. 12, 2015 Oklahoma State 62, Minnesota 60
Dec. 27, 2015 South Dakota State 65, Middle Tennessee 61
Dec. 28, 2015 South Dakota 89, Florida Gulf Coast 81
Nov. 25, 2016 East Tennessee State 86, Milwaukee 62
Nov. 25, 2016 UC Irvine 63, South Dakota State 52
Nov. 26, 2016 Milwaukee 54, UC Irvine 37
Nov. 26, 2016 East Tennessee State 71, South Dakota State 59
Nov. 27, 2016 East Tennessee State 72, UC Irvine 66
Nov. 27, 2016 South Dakota State 81, Milwaukee 58
Dec. 3, 2016 Minnesota 56, Vanderbilt 52
Nov. 24, 2017 Northern Colorado 80, Youngstown State 67
Nov. 24, 2017 South Dakota 84, Southern Miss, 71
Nov. 25, 2017 Northern Colorado 63, South Dakota 62
Nov. 25, 2017 Southern Miss 71, Youngstown State 64
Nov. 26, 2017 Northern Colorado 77, Southern Miss, 63
Nov. 26, 2017 South Dakota 81, Youngstown State 53
Dec. 2, 2017 Missouri State 73, South Dakota State 53
Dec. 22, 2017 Iowa 80, Colorado 73
Dec. 16, 2018 Nebraska 79, Oklahoma State 56
Feb. 7, 2019 Omaha 107, South Dakota 102 (OT)
Nov. 5, 2019 Saint Mary's 65, Wisconsin 63 (OT)
Nov. 9, 2019 Oklahoma 71, Minnesota 62
Dec. 20, 2019 Northern Colorado 87, South Dakota 68
Dec. 13, 2020 Northern Iowa vs. New Mexico State
Dec. 22, 2020 Iowa vs. Oregon State

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