UNI defeats Valpo, Drake

BRIELLE KIEWIET, Sports Writer

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UNI men’s basketball is now 21-3 overall and 10-2 in the MVC after a split home and road week. The Panthers defeated the Valparaiso Crusaders 63-51 in Indiana on Wednesday, Feb. 5 and the Drake University Bulldogs 83-73 in the McLeod on Saturday, Feb. 8.

The Panthers came ready to play in Indiana on Wednesday night, where they held the Crusaders to only 19 points in the first half. Ahead 34-19 at the break, the Panthers shot 39 percent compared to the Crusader’s 17 percent. Austin Phyfe led the Northern Iowa offense with ten points and six rebounds. Trae Berhow and Tywhon Pickford followed with five and four.

In the second half, Valpo outscored UNI 32-29 but still came up short with UNI shooting 36 percent from the field. AJ Green led the Panther offense with 14 points. Phyfe continued his impressive play into the second half adding seven more rebounds and recorded his sixth double-double of the season with ten points and 13 rebounds. Berhow added six rebounds, ending the game with 11.

The Purple and Gold returned home to the McLeod on Saturday to host the MVC fourth-ranked Drake bulldogs in front of a sold out crowd of 6,497.

The Bulldogs held the lead in the first half, shooting 64 percent from the field compared to the Panthers 43 percent. Green led the offense for the Panthers with 13 points at the break, and Justin Dahl added two points and six rebounds.

Trailing by four at the break, Green continued to lead the Panthers in points, adding 21. Green recorded four three-point shots and went 8-11 from the field in the second half. He totaled 34 points, his second-highest point total of his career. Berhow finished the game with 18 points and set a career high hitting 7-8 of his free throw attempts.

UNI remains undefeated at home with a record of 13-0.

The Panthers will return to the McLeod on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. to take on the Illinois State University Redbirds.