Panthers hold off late comeback

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BRANDON TJEPKES, Sports Editor

The UNI men’s basketball team snagged a victory Tuesday night against Bradley, 63-52. The win adds to UNI’s record, putting them at 15-2 overall and 4-1 in MVC play.

The Panthers were able to keep the Braves away from the scoreboard for much of the first half. UNI put up five points early, but Bradley tied it up quickly. A Deon Mitchell three-pointer started a Panther 8-0 run and a 13-5 lead. 

The Panthers kept the lead to 19-9 before they came up big for an 11-0 run. Paul Jespersen put in three points during the run, Nate Buss added two and Seth Tuttle went 4-4 at the free throw line. 

The offense died down a bit for the rest of the half. Bradley ended the half with a 9-4 run of their own, making the score 35-18 in favor of the Panthers.

This marks the sixth time this season UNI has kept their opponent to less than 20 points in the first half. UNI’s bench contributed 15 of the 35 points.

The Panthers started off the second half strong with a 10-4 run. Jespersen knocked down another pair of threes while Marvin Singleton put up 4 points. Bradley came up with a 7-3 run with the help of free throws. 

Fouls began to plague UNI as they gave Bradley a 12-4 run. The Braves’ Warren Jones knocked down a 3-pointer and five free throws. Tuttle did his best with two layups to keep the lead. Tuttle ended the game with a game-high 15 points. Bradley’s Ka’Darryl Bell drained a three to make the score 47-54 with 3:02 remaining, but Bradley could not complete the comeback. With little time left, Bradley resorted to fouling UNI. The Panthers were able to make all of their free throws, ending the game with a 9-5 run and the 63-52 win.

UNI returns home to play Missouri State in the McLeod Center on Sunday, Jan. 18 at 3 p.m.