MASON CITY | The NIACC men's track and field team is ranked No. 21 in the initial 2018 indoor rankings by USTFCCCA.

Barton CC (Kan.) is ranked No. 1. Iowa Central is ranked No. 2.

Other Iowa teams in the rankings are Iowa Western at No. 9, Indian Hills at No. 13 and Hawkeye CC at No. 16.

NIACC placed sixth at the Chelsey M Henkenius Indoor Open on the Wartburg College campus on Jan. 20. Sophomore Blake Keller won the 1,000-meter run in a time of 2:39.67 on Feb. 20.

The NIACC men also won the distance medley relay in a time of 10:41.01. The Trojans ran Keller, Ethan Klasi, Akahnni Delgado and Brian Jacques.

The 10:41.01 converts to a 10:32.42 on a banked indoor track and qualified the Trojans for the NJCAA national indoor meet. The converted time currently ranks third among NJCAA men’s teams.

NIACC returns to action Friday at the University of Northern Iowa Jack Jennett Invitational at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

— NIACC Sports Information

Defense leads UNI men to victory

CEDAR FALLS | In the most wide-open Missouri Valley Conference race in years, Northern Iowa still has a lot of ground to make up following a 2-6 start.

A few more performances like Wednesday night will rapidly close the gap.

The Panthers held Illinois State scoreless for a 9:39 stretch, going on a 25-0 run in the process to earn an 83-72 win in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.

Three days after a sluggish showing in a 64-53 loss to Southern Illinois, in which they had as many turnovers as field goals in the first half, the Panthers dominated on both ends in the opening 20 minutes, connecting on seven 3-pointers and holding the Redbirds without a field goal for a 10:34 stretch.

"You want to start each game that way if you can," UNI Coach Ben Jacobson said. "But coming off of Sunday, where we just didn't have a very good bounce in our step, to be able to get out tonight and to really get going, not only was it good, but it was fun to see."