UNI swept at Hall of Fame Classic

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COURTESY

Tytan Anderson (32) had double-doubles in both games at the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City.

CADEN SHEA, Sports Writer

The UNI men’s basketball team traveled to Kansas City, Mo. over the holiday break to participate in the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Hall of Fame Classic. The Panthers battled against both San Francisco and Grand Canyon University in the tournament, falling to both. The Panthers were attempting to rebound from a loss to Richmond and their first opponent would be the San Francisco Dons. 

This was the first matchup in history between the UNI Panthers and the San Francisco Dons. This was one of the only opponents that UNI would play this year that made the NCAA tournament this past March. The Panthers came into the game with the mentality that this was a team that they would have to make their mark against. They were the first to strike and kept a steady pace for a majority of the game. The Panthers held an early lead by attacking the rim and locking down the Dons on defense. UNI was led by James Betz and Tytan Anderson in the first half who had 20 combined points to start the game. The Panthers closed the opening half on top by 11 points with a score of 43-32.

The team kept up their attack to begin the second half, having multiple players hit 3-pointers. However, the Dons commanded the boards, out rebounding the Panthers in the second half. San Francisco continued to battle back and would ultimately tie the Panthers 67-67 in the final four and a half minutes of play. The Panthers would only score two more points the rest of the game as the Dons managed to close out the game and defeat UNI 75-69 in the opening round of the tournament. Betz led the team with 19 points while Bowen Born followed with 16. Anderson obtained a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. 

The Panthers would then face the Grand Canyon University Antelopes in the consolation game of the NABC Hall of Fame Classic. UNI would have a slow start due to a poor rebounding performance by the team. The Antelopes had 13 more rebounds than the Panthers in the first half with 24 to UNI’s 11. The Panthers had a good shooting performance in the first half with a 44.4% shooting percentage to start the game. However, GCU’s presence in the paint managed to slow down any progress the Panthers would attempt to make. Anderson had a team high eight points in the first half with Michael Duax following with seven points. The Panthers first half struggles were evident on the scoreboard, trailing to the Antelopes 41-27 going into the second half.

The Panthers were not going to surrender the game without a fight. They started the second half with a 5-0 run to assure the Antelopes that they were not going to let the first half define them. Although GCU had a heavy lead on UNI for a majority of the game, the Panthers made much needed improvements to their game. They improved their rebounding and shooting percentage with Born leading the team with 13 second half points. The Panthers would manage to cut their opponent’s lead to a mere two points, but fell victim to poor free throw shooting in the final stretch. The Panthers attempt at a miraculous comeback would not succeed as they fell to GCU 69-67. Born led the team with 19 points while Anderson finished the tournament with two double-doubles with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Panthers managed to get a win this weekend as they defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 83-76 in the McLeod Center. The Panthers will be on the road on Wednesday as they face the Bradley Braves at 7 p.m.