A slow start against the first-place team in the Missouri Valley Conference standings didn't phase the UNI Panthers Tuesday night (Jan. 16, 2017).

Coach Ben Jacobson's squad overcame an early 16-point deficit and posted a 68-54 win over league-leading Drake at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. The victory was the seventh-straight for UNI in the in-state series. The Panthers have also won 16 of their last 18 games against the Bulldogs.

UNI (10-9 overall, 2-5 MVC) got a double-double from Tywhon Pickford. The freshman guard scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while senior Bennett Koch contributed 19 points off the bench.

Drake got a game-high 19 points from senior Reed Timmer.

The Bulldogs pounced on UNI early. They used a 16-0 run to build a 29-13 advantage at the 6:49 mark, then went scoreless the rest of the first half.

The Panthers responded with their own 16-0 run. UNI cut the deficit to 29-26 at intermission, then tied the game on Isaiah Brown's three-pointer less than a minute into the second half.

Klint Carlson's lay-up with 14 minutes to play put the Panthers ahead for good at 39-38. The basket started a decisive 13-0 run for UNI that included a four-point play from Pickford and a conventional three-point play from Carlson that were sandwiched around a technical foul on the Drake bench. Spencer Haldeman sank both technical free throws.

The Bulldogs cut the deficit to eight points with 6:12 remaining. Two free throws by Timmer narrowed UNI's lead to 56-48, but Drake couldn't get any closer.

UP NEXT: The Panthers will be back in action on Sunday, when they play at Southern Illinois. The game begins at 3 p.m. from SIU Arena in Carbondale, Ill.