Panthers drop two versus Drake and Valpo


Toni Fortmann

Forward Trae Berhow lead UNI in scoring Saturday against Valparaiso with 15 points in the contest.


The UNI Panthers men’s basketball team was back in action for a couple of games this past week. On Wednesday, Feb. 10, they traveled to the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa to take on the 18-1 Drake University Bulldogs. On Saturday, Feb. 13, UNI returned home to host the Valparaiso University Crusaders. The Panthers fell short in both games, losing to the Bulldogs by a score of 80-59 and losing to the Crusaders by a score of 70-57.

In their first game of the week, UNI had a tall task in front of them, going on the road to face off against the 18-1 Drake Bulldogs. The Panthers did well early on, going back and forth for much of the first half. Despite this, Drake got hot right before the break, scoring 11 points in the final four minutes of what had been an otherwise fairly low scoring game. This run gave the Bulldogs a 41-29 advantage going into the break.

The Panthers got off to a fast start in the second half, going on a 7-0 run to cut the Drake lead to nine. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough as the Bulldogs got back on track, increasing their lead as the second half went along and eventually taking down the Panthers by a final score of 80-59.

UNI struggled to shoot from behind the arc, shooting 25% for the game including just 18% in the first half. The leading scorer for the Panthers was Trae Berhow. The senior forward finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Two other Panthers managed double digit scoring. Freshman guard Bowen Born and junior forward Austin Phyfe both finished with 10 points, with Phyfe adding a team-high six rebounds.

The Panthers were back on the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 13 when they hosted the Valparaiso Crusaders. The Crusaders, fresh off of ending Drake’s hopes at an undefeated season, started the game hot, hitting five threes in the opening 12 minutes and leading by as much as 16 in the first half. Bowen Born got hot late in the half, scoring seven straight points, but the Crusaders still led by 12 at the break, 39-27.

UNI stayed within striking distance throughout most of the second half, but they could never make a run to try to stage a comeback. The Panthers got the game within 10 points with 14 minutes to play, but they couldn’t get it any closer as the Crusaders took control down the stretch and came out victorious, 70-57.

Northern Iowa once again struggled to shoot from three-point distance in this game, shooting 22.7 percent. Bowen Born and Trae Berhow led the Panthers in scoring, both finishing with 15 points. Austin Phyfe came up one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine rebounds.

With the losses, the Panthers fall to 6-14 on the year, with a record of 4-10 in MVC play. By publication, the Panthers will have played their rematch against Valparaiso on Sunday, Feb. 14. The Panthers will then host the final home game of the year against Drake on Wednesday, Feb. 17, before finishing up the regular season in Normal, Ill. for a pair of games against Illinois State on Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27.