UNI goes 1-1 to open conference play

Bowen Born (13) continued his strong play on Saturday, finishing with 29 points in the victory over Evansville.


Bowen Born (13) continued his strong play on Saturday, finishing with 29 points in the victory over Evansville.

BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

The UNI men’s basketball team played their first two conference games last week as they traveled to Peoria, Ill. on Wednesday to play Bradley University and then played the University of Evansville on Saturday in the McLeod Center.

Against Bradley, both teams started off slow with the score sitting at 7-7 almost halfway through the first half. Beyond that it was still a very close, back-and-forth game throughout the half. After the first 20 minutes, UNI led 30-29. 

The second half did not fare as well for the Panthers. The game stayed very close but when the Braves gained a lead with 12:30 left in the second half they never looked back. UNI was not able to get the lead for the rest of the game before ultimately falling to Bradley 68-53.

Bowen Born led the way in scoring with 22 of the team’s 53 points. Trey Campbell and Tytan Anderson both followed up with eight points each. Anderson also led the team in rebounds. UNI as a team shot 35% from the field as well as 38% from three. The men saw a season low in team points in this game as well as their second lowest field goal percentage, which ultimately decided the game.

The Panthers had a bounce back game on Saturday with a dominant win over Evansville. UNI did not trail in this game and had a double digit lead that they held for a majority of the game. At halftime the Panthers led by 18 with the score at 38-20.

The last 20 minutes of the game were similar to the first. At about the 15 minute mark, Evansville made a slight surge knocking the lead down to just six points. An 11-4 UNI run erased that scare allowing the Panthers to coast out the rest of the game, at some points leading by as much as 20 points. The final score had UNI winning 72-55.

Born had another excellent performance with 29 points to lead the team. The 5-foot-11-inch sophomore guard has had an impressive start to the season as he is currently averaging 21.7 points per game, almost triple his average last year. Anderson had a season-high in points with 19 as well as a team-high in rebounds with nine. The Panthers shot 45% from the field and 40% from three in the blowout win.

UNI is now 1-1 in MVC games this season and they are 3-0 at home. However, the Panthers are also 0-4 when on the road. UNI currently sits tied for third place in the conference ranking in the MVC.The Panthers will look to continue their excellence at home with three straight home games over the next two weeks. The first of those will be Tuesday, Dec. 6 against the University of Toledo at 7:30 p.m.