Men’s basketball win two at home, advance to 4-0




The UNI men’s basketball team hosted two highly competitive home games this past week, taking down CSU Bakersfield 67-55 on Wed, Nov. 13 and defeating Northern Colorado 77-72 in an overtime thriller on Saturday, Nov. 16.  With the two wins, the Panthers remain perfect on the season with a 4-0 record.

Wednesday night saw a scrappy CSU Bakersfield team roll into town, leading to a defensive battle in the first half.  Out of the gate, UNI’s offense struggled to score as they went 8-27, six of which were three-pointers, but the Panthers did take a 24-22 lead into halftime.

In a situation where shots weren’t falling, most coaches would try to move the ball around more or try to put in different players, but head coach Ben Jacobson stuck to the team’s strengths.

“The only thing I tell them is to shoot more,” Jacobson said.  “They’re in the gym all the time.  They’re terrific shooters. I may have a few ideas for what to look for here or what to look for there, but it’s never about should I shoot or shouldn’t I shoot. The only thing I tell them is keep fighting.”

That confidence came into play in the second half as the Panthers offensive production soared, putting up 43 points in the second half.

Additionally, strong defense caused miss-after-miss for the Roadrunners to extend the Panther lead to 15 with 5:30 remaining before finishing the game with a score of 67-55.

The second game of the week included an overtime thriller against Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon.

UNI’s interior presence was strong as they posted 42 points in the paint, including 20 of Austin Phyfe’s 22 points coming from inside the paint.

“Compared to other games, they weren’t doubling down low and the size advantage [was better] compared to the last game we played,” Phyfe said.

The first half saw UNI’s defensive effort carry over from Wednesday as the Panthers forced 12 turnovers on the Bears to close out the half with a 37-29 lead.

The second half was a different story, as the Bears fought back and tied the game up with just 3.3 seconds left on the clock, sending the game to overtime.

The Purple and Gold faced their first deficit of the game in overtime, but it didn’t last for long as the Panthers fought back to outscore the Bears 12-7 to seal the game. Spencer Haldeman added 25 points, going 3-3 from downtown, along with A.J. Green’s 16 points.

The next match for the Panthers will be on Tuesday, Nov. 19 as they host the University of Tennessee-Martin, with tip-off set at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center.