As Northern Iowa and North Dakota headed to the locker rooms after the first half of action on Saturday, it seemed like it would be a miserable night for senior guard Jeremy Morgan and the Panthers.The UNI star was scoreless through 20 minutes, missing all five of his shot attempts, and the Panthers trailed 33-29 after a very flat half of basketball.
But whatever coach Ben Jacobson said to his players seemed to resonate with Morgan in particular, as the senior absolutely exploded from there to completely carry UNI to a win.
Morgan scored 38 points in the second half, breaking his career high of 36 in last year's second-round NCAA tournament game against Texas A&M. He came within just two points of the Northern Iowa record of 40.
What's more, Morgan single-handedly outscored North Dakota 38-37 in the second half and the Panthers ran away to a 78-70 victory.
The senior was 10-of-12 from the field in the second half and 16-of-22 from the free-throw line. For good measure, he finished the game with 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.
Morgan wasted no time getting his first points once the second half began, making a layup on UNI's first possession. He then went almost four minutes without a bucket before scoring 15 points over the next nine minutes or so for 17 total points and a tie score with seven minutes left.
Then he really had fun.
On four consecutive possessions, Morgan had an and-1 layup, a 3-pointer and four free throws, prompting a North Dakota timeout. Then, after a few minutes without scoring, he had another and-1, then sealed the game by going 8-of-8 at the charity stripe down the stretch.
The second-half line score for UNI's Jeremy Morgan tonight: pic.twitter.com/NRQHPmnQ9Z— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) December 11, 2016
Morgan was picked to be the Missouri Valley Conference's Preseason Player of the Year, and with that sort of volume scoring ability, it's easy to see why. Even when he's seemingly off his game, he can click the switch back on and completely put the Panthers on his back.