Panthers stumble against Bruins, 76-72



Trey Campbell (4) attempts a 3-pointer for UNI. Campbell was UNI’s leading scorer against Belmont, finishing with 16 points.

ADAM JOHNSON, Sports Writer

On Saturday, Jan. 14, the UNI Panthers men’s basketball team traveled to Nashville, Tenn. for a conference matchup against Belmont. The Panthers came into this one with a four-game winning streak, but the Bruins had a little three-game win streak of their own. Both teams came into this one with 5-2 conference records, performing well in the Missouri Valley. This game came down to the wire, but the Bruins sent the Panthers back home with a loss.

Both teams came into the game ready to let it fly from deep, as each team made a pair of threes in the first three minutes. While the Panthers settled down a bit from deep, the Bruins could not stop hitting shots. When the Panthers had a narrow 12-10 lead, the Bruins knocked down three straight three point baskets and finished off their run with a dunk to take a 21-12 lead. With over nine minutes still on the clock in the first half, the Bruins already had 31 points to the Panthers 18. Their offense cooled down a bit the rest of the half, but they still put up 44 points in the half, and led the Panthers 44-31 at the break. While 13 points is a solid lead, the Panthers were lucky they were not down by more. Belmont shot nearly 71% from the field. Even more impressive was their 62.5% 3-point shooting, with 10 made threes. Due to the Bruins elite shooting, the Panthers had their work cut out for them in the second half. 

Scoring was not as frequent to start the second half, but the Bruins maintained their lead and even extended it by a small amount. The Bruins were ahead 56-40 with 13 minutes left in the game. With things looking rough for the Panthers, they managed a 7-0 run to keep themselves in the game. They were still down by nine points, and the Bruins kept them at a distance until around the four minute mark. The Bruins were up 70-60 and the Panthers managed a late run. Drew Daniel pitched in four points, Trey Campbell added four more, and all of a sudden the Panthers were within two points, down just 70-68 with just under two minutes remaining. Neither side was able to get anything for the next minute and a half, and with 24 seconds left the Panthers had to foul. The Bruins made their free throws, and although the Panthers got a couple more baskets, the Bruins continued to make their free throws and hung on for the victory. Belmont defeated Northern Iowa 76-72.

Campbell led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points, Michael Duax added 12 and Tytan Anderson had 11.  Anderson also had a game-high nine rebounds. Belmont was led by Ben Shepperd and Drew Fiberg. The two combined for 37 points, and made seven of Belmont’s 14 3-point baskets. 

With the loss, the Panthers fall to 5-3 in conference play, and will look to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday, Jan. 18 when they host Illinois State.