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Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson: Noah Carter to start in Trae Berhow’s place at Crossover Classic

The Panthers open their season Wednesday against Western Kentucky

MVC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Northern Iowa will head into the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic without a key piece to its team. Trae Berhow did not make the trip to South Dakota in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, the team announced on Tuesday.

Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson announced in a press conference that sophomore Noah Carter will start in Berhow’s place.

Berhow was one of the best offensive players in the country a year ago, ranking in the top 65 of three KenPom offensive categories, while scoring 12.5 points per game.

All-Mid-Major Madness third-team member A.J Green, relied on Berhow to complement him on offense. As Green had a stellar assist rate of 17, Berhow had a true shooting percentage of 62.6%. That was good for 47th in the country.

With this stellar backcourt, the Panthers won 25 games a year ago. They lost in the quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament, but were squarely on the bubble for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Now, Carter will have to step in and keep the Panthers going, at least temporarily.

“He’s ready to take on an expanded role this year,” Jacobson said. “Whether Trae’s in the lineup or he’s out of the lineup, Noah is one of our better players and he’s excited to take on a bigger role this year.”

Carter didn’t start a single game last year, but played significant time. In a game against non-D-I Luther, Carter scored 25 points in 25 minutes. To end conference play, Carter scored double digits in the final two games.

On Wednesday, the Panthers open up the Crossover Classic with a game against Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers come in ranked No. 7 in The Other Top 25. Their star, Charles Bassey, returns after a leg injury and averaged a double-double in the nine games he started last year.