Mustangs defeat Northern Iowa 57-50, advance to CIT Semifinals

Mustangs defeat Northern Iowa 57-50 to win 20 games in a season and advance to CIT semifinals.

SMU Mens Basketball

Special Contributor

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Papa Dia has a sore back and hasn’t practiced for SMU in two weeks, but nobody would have guessed that Monday night.

Dia grabbed a career-best 21 rebounds and scored 17 points as the Mustangs tripped Northern Iowa, 57-50, in the quarterfinals of the Tournament before 3,968 fans in the McLeod Center.

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Dia finished with the most rebounds for an SMU player in 26 years, matching a 21-rebound performance by Jon Koncak in 1985, and shattered the arena record for most boards in a single game.

 “He was a man out there,” SMU coach Matt Doherty said.

Dia, a 6-9, 235-pound senior from Senegal, had a double-double by halftime with 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Panthers (20-14) double-teamed him in the second half to limit his scoring, but he still owned the backboards.

“I guess the ball bounced my way,” he said. “I just got lucky, I guess.”

The Mustangs (20-14) advance to Friday’s semifinals. They will face the Santa Clara Broncos at 7 p.m. Friday in Moody Coliseum.

“It feels good,” Doherty said. “This is a really good tournament and well-run. It has good programs in it. It allows us to grow as a program.”

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