Updated at: 02/02/2013 4:37 PM
By LUKE MEREDITH
(AP) CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Anthony James scored 16 points and Northern Iowa beat 15th-ranked Wichita State 57-52 on Saturday, sending the Shockers into their first losing streak of the season.
Seth Tuttle had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Panthers (12-11, 5-6 Missouri Valley Conference). They took control with a 14-0 run in the second half and became just the fourth Valley team in the last 23 games to beat Wichita State at home.
The Shockers (19-4, 8-3) pulled within 52-50 on Carl Hall’s steal and bucket with 1:18 left. But Northern Iowa’s Seth Tuttle blocked a Nick Wiggins try that would have tied it and then sealed the win with a breakaway dunk.
Hall led Wichita State with 20 points. The Shockers, who lost to Indiana State on Tuesday, have dropped a game behind league-leading Creighton in the Valley race.
The Shockers gave up sole possession of first place in the Valley when they lost to the Sycamores, snapping a 19-game home winning streak.
Wichita State started and finished this one in much the same manner.
The Shockers went over seven minutes without scoring in the first half, allowing Northern Iowa to take an early edge. But Wichita State steadied itself long enough to pull even at halftime, 23-all.
The Shockers then jumped on the Panthers with seven quick points, which can be huge against a slow-paced team such as Northern Iowa. But the Panthers responded behind a pair of Marc Sonnen 3s, jumping back ahead 37-36.
Sonnen had three 3s for Northern Iowa, which scored 23 of the game’s next 29 points after falling behind 30-23.
The Panthers, who earned national acclaim with their stunning upset of top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA tournament in 2010, will almost certainly miss the tourney for the third year in a row.
Northern Iowa played a brutal non-league slate that included losses to Louisville, Stanford, Memphis, Iowa and UNLV, and it opened Valley play with a 25-point loss at Wichita State.
The Panthers have been unlucky of late. They lost their last home game when Indiana State drew contact on a desperation heave and hit free throws just before the final buzzer. They also lost in overtime at Evansville, 54-51, on Tuesday.
Northern Iowa didn’t need much luck against the Shockers, whose offense went into a funk for the final 12 minutes.
Wichita State finished with 13 turnovers and a season-low 52 points. It hasn’t cracked 60 in either of their recent losses.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)