Panthers beat the buzzer to take down Valparaiso



Michael Duax (15) scored game winning shot for UNI, beating the buzzer with a putback.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

The UNI men’s basketball team traveled to Indiana to play against conference opponent Valparaiso. The Panthers came into this one having won three of their last four games and playing solid basketball, while the Beacons were coming off of two straight losses. It was a tough battle, but the Panthers were able to go home with the victory.

When the game started it did not take long to realize that the Panthers were ready to play. Michael Duax started the game with a basket, starting what would become a 10-0 run to start the game. The run was capped off by a Bowen Born 3-pointer just three minutes in. Valparaiso started to get some baskets of their own, but were still having trouble getting stops at the defensive end of the floor. While the Panthers did jump out to the early lead, they had a tough time extending it more. The Panthers had an impressive 20 points in the first six minutes of the game, but their offense fell a bit quiet for the majority of the rest of the half. In the next 11 minutes of the game, they had just 10, and Valpo had taken the lead, 33-30. The last few minutes went back-and-forth, and by the end of the half, a Born 3-pointer gave the Panthers their lead back. They led the Beacons 41-38 at the break.

The second half went much differently than the first, with it being close basically the whole way through. The Panthers were able to manage a decent run fairly early in the half. They were up 48-47, and proceeded to go on an 8-0 run to take a nine-point lead. The Panthers managed to narrowly hold onto the lead over the rest of the half, but the Beacons stayed within striking distance the entire time. With two minutes left, it was a four-point game, the Panthers with 67 and the Beacons with 63. Kobe King came up huge for Valpo, making two free throws at the one-minute mark, and two more with just 12 seconds left in the game to tie things up at 67. The Panthers put the ball in the hands of their star player Born on the final possession. Born drove to the lane and shot a floater. The shot bounced off the front of the rim and Duax, who scored the game’s first basket, scored the game’s final basket at the buzzer. The Panthers won the game in shocking fashion, 69-67. 

The UNI victory was led in a big way by performances from Tytan Anderson and Duax. Both put up similar stat lines, Anderson with 16 points and Duax with 15. They both also had double-doubles, having 12 rebounds a piece. Valparaiso had the games leading scorer, Ben Krikke, who had 20 points.

This win for the Panthers marks their second in a row, and fourth in the last five games. The Panthers will be playing back at home in the McLeod Center on Saturday, Jan. 7, when they go up against Southern Illinois.