Panthers fall to Bulldogs, take down Bears



Bowen Born (13) went over 1,000 points for his career during UNI’s 69-66 victory over Missouri State on Saturday.

BEN LAHART, Sports Writer

As the men’s basketball regular season begins to wind down, the Panthers are looking to pull in as many late wins as possible. UNI was able to do just that in their second game last week. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Drake Bulldogs traveled to Cedar Falls for a rematch of the double-overtime thriller earlier in the season. The Panthers traveled to Springfield, Mo. on Saturday, Feb. 18 to play Missouri State in search of redemption from a loss in late December.

In the McLeod Center, the Panthers looked for revenge against their in-state rivals. This would be no easy task as Drake is the number one team in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) currently. The game started off very tight but UNI jumped out to an early five-point lead. Drake retook the lead and the game was back-and-forth for the next seven minutes of game time. There were five more lead changes in the first half but once Drake took the lead, they never looked back.

UNI found themselves down by double-digits with just over four minutes left in the half. Both teams were trading blows as they continued to score as time wound down. At the end of the opening 20 minutes, the Panthers trailed 41-31.

UNI was forced to play catch-up in the second half which did not look great at first. Drake’s lead grew to 14 points five minutes into the half but the Panthers did not give up. UNI continued working into the deficit and with under three minutes remaining, Tytan Anderson scored a layup to cut the lead down to just three points, the lowest of the half. This was as close as the Panthers would get to the win. Late in the game, Drake free throws finished off the season sweep for the Bulldogs as they won, 82-74.

Bowen Born led the team in scoring with 16 points while four other Panthers also reached double figure scoring. Trey Campbell had 15 points, followed by Anderson, James Betz and Cole Henry with 12, 11 and 10, respectively.

Missouri State proved to be great competition for the Panthers with a tightly contested first half featuring five lead changes and eight ties. Neither team led by more than four points in the half, until Missouri State took a five-point lead in the final seconds to enter halftime leading 38-33.

The second half played out similarly to the first, but with less back-and-forth action. Missouri State was able to hold onto their slim lead as UNI fought to stay close throughout. Despite this, the Bears lead grew to as much as seven points with just over five minutes left. The Panthers closed the game with a 16-6 run over the final minutes to complete the comeback win, 69-66. This ended the Panther’s six-game losing streak dating back to the end of January.

Born once again paced the Panthers in scoring with a team-high 21 points, his 12th 20-point outing of the season. Michael Duax had a great game with 17 points while Anderson posted a double-double with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. This was his 11th double-double of the season which leads the MVC.

Born also surpassed 1,000 career points with a 3-pointer midway through the second half of the Missouri State game. He is the 45th Panther to reach this milestone and is the first tplayer to do so since Trae Berhow in 2021.

UNI now holds a 13-15 record with a 9-9 record in the MVC, good enough for eighth in the standings. They will look to pick up a win in their last regular season road game this Wednesday, Feb. 22, as they travel to Carbondale, Ill. to play the Southern Illinois Salukis. The Panthers came out on top in this matchup back in early January, winning 69-57. This game will tip off at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ESPN+.