Panthers bust Bears 95-75, sit atop Valley



UNI took down Missouri State last Sunday with ease, moving into first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with only two games remaining.


It was a coordinated team effort by the Panthers basketball team this weekend as five players scored in double-digits to get a 95-75 victory over the Missouri State Bears in an important Missouri Valley Conference game. Both teams were tied for second place in the conference, with the winner moving a half-game ahead of Loyola for first place. AJ Green, who sat on the bench for only one minute of action, led the team with 21 points, earning him the honor of Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week. He’s been awarded this honor two previous times during the season, once in November and another in December.

The Panther offense was able to kick into high-gear early with an 8-0 run made possible by two made three-pointers by Nate Heise and Tywhon Pickford, respectively. Playing in his 140th career game, Pickford now holds the record for most played games in program history.

Heise and Pickford’s early scoring became contagious, as Green and Trae Berhow were quickly able to convert multiple buckets from behind the arc.

By the end of the first half, the Panthers had shot 46.4% from three-point land, while also going 8-8 from the charity stripe. The Bears’ offense was no match as they found themselves down 49-33 going into the locker room.

The second half played the same story, with the only difference being the characters. It was Bowen Born’s turn to catch fire as he only missed one shot out of his six attempts. That also included three three-pointers, helping Born reach a season-high 15 points and career-high six rebounds. Green and Berhow also converted another set of three-pointers of their own.

The team kept the Bears at a comfortable distance throughout the second half, making a comeback all but impossible. By the time the buzzer marked the end of regulation, the Panthers had confidently achieved a 95-75 victory.

The only stat that Missouri State could hang their hats on was their free throw percentage of 73.3% compared to UNI’s 69.6%. Other than that, every stat was dominated by a purple presence.

With their 58.9% shot conversion rate, the team stays undefeated when they shoot over 50% from the field. The team has only lost one game on the season in the nine times that they have scored 80+ points, with that one loss being the Jan. 19 overtime heartbreaker to Valparaiso.

With this win, the Panthers completed the season sweep over the Bears, winning their previous matchup 85-84. With only two games left in the regular season, the Panthers share the top spot in the conference with Loyola at 12-4. UNI will play at Indiana State on Feb. 23 before their final home game of the 2021-22 season. It will come down the wire as the two teams will face each other this coming Sunday in the McLeod Center, with tip-off scheduled at 5 p.m. It will be Senior Night, along with a shirt and pizza giveaway for UNI students.