CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — A second half rally came up short for the UNI men’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon as the Panthers dropped a 71-65 road contest to the UIC Flames at Credit Union 1 Arena in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play.
The loss by the Panthers’ snaps their three-game winning streak against the Flames in their first loss to UIC since 2008. Northern Iowa shot effectively in the first half, but struggled to keep up with UIC’s hot shooting hand from beyond the three-point arc.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Jacob Hutson, Nate Heise and Tytan Anderson helped pace UNI’s interior offense in the opening period in an entertaining back-and-forth to begin the game. Struggling to defend the three-point shot against the Flames, UIC’s Filip Skobalj buried four three-point baskets on four attempts in the first half and pressured the Panthers into seven turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play and struggled to slow CJ Jones down in the paint. Northern Iowa would fall behind on a 9-0 Flames run, but slowly chipped its deficit back down to single-digits in the final minutes. Kyle Pock gave the Panthers a final spark on offense in the final seconds of the half after being fouled on a made three-point shot and converting on a free throw to head to the locker room trailing, 40-32.
UNI scored the first four points of the second half and quickly fought back into the game with an aggressive pursuit of loose rebounds and drawn contact. Pushing the Flames’ defense in transition, the Panthers tied the game at 51-51 thanks to a 13-point half by Heise and a defensive effort that slowed down UIC’s three-point shooting in the final minutes. Northern Iowa would struggle at the free throw line, however, missing six attempts from the charity stripe and finding difficulty in establishing a three-point shooting game.
Heise finished the afternoon with a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double performance of the season, while Anderson notched 13 points with eight rebounds. Trey Campbell tallied 11 points with four rebounds in the loss, as Born posted a seven-point game. Landon Wolf, Michael Duax and Pock all finished with four points each.
- UNI leads the all-time series with the Flames 13-12 after Sunday afternoon’s loss. The Panthers are a combined 2-9 when playing on the road at UIC.
- Tytan Anderson has scored at least one point in 57 consecutive games, the longest streak among active Panthers.
- Nate Heise recorded his 400th career rebound on Sunday, while Trey Campbell surpassed 200 career boards.
UNI returns to action on Wednesday night as it visits the Valparaiso Beacons in northwest Indiana. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso with live coverage available on ESPN+ and the Panther Sports Radio Network.