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Northern Iowa-UNLV: Ali Farokhmanesh Leads Panthers To First-Round Win

OKLAHOMA CITY - MARCH 18:  Ali Farokhmanesh #5 of the Northern Iowa Panthers reacts the UNLV Rebels during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 18, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
B.Senior Analyst IMarch 19, 2010

Try saying Ali Farokhmanesh three times as fast as you can.

It's almost impossible—and it nearly killed two CBS announcers assigned to call the first- round NCAA tournament match-up between the Northern Iowa Panthers and the UNLV Rebels.

With seven seconds remaining on the clock, Farokhmanesh, a senior guard for Northern Iowa, nailed a deep three-point shot to give the Panthers a 69-66 edge over the Rebels.

The game was an intense, back-and-forth defensive battle until the very end. UNLV's full-court-pressure defense broke down in the final seconds of the game, leaving Farokhmanesh open for what would prove to be the game-winning basket.

A local Iowa paper predicted the outcome of the game the morning before tip-off.  "Farokhmanesh might be the man to push the Panthers over their NCAA tournament hump," wrote the Waterloo Courier 's Kelly Beaton.

Prior to the win, the Panthers had lost their last four NCAA tournament games.

UNI head coach Ben Jacobson agreed with the reporter.

"Regardless of what happens in a game," Jacobson told Beaton, "his presence makes us a much more efficient, much more dangerous team."

Farokhmanesh is definitely one of the reasons remaining tournament teams should be worried about the Panthers advancing. Jordan Eglseder and Kwadzo Ahelegbe are a few more reasons for teams to worry.

Ahelegbe contributed 13 points and four assists to the win. Eglseder, who stands 7 feet tall and weighs 290 pounds, scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

With the win, Northern Iowa advances to the second round for the first time in five tries.

Hopefully, the announcers of the Panthers' next game practice up on the name Ali Farokhmanesh.

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