Panthers humbled in Wichita, lose conference crown 74-60

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BRANDON TJEPKES, Sports Editor

The regular season came to a close as the UNI Panthers, ranked No. 10 suffered their third loss on Saturday against the No. 11-ranked Wichita State Shockers, 74-60.

There was a lot at stake in this game. The regular season conference championship and the Panthers’ winning streak were on the line. UNI still finished the regular season 27-3 with only two losses in conference play.

For most of the first half, the game was pretty close. Wichita State started off with a couple three-pointers from Ron Baker and Fred Van Vleet. Wichita State kept the lead early, but only by a few points. 

At the 10:56 mark, the Panthers took the lead with a Wes Washpun three, but that is where it went downhill for UNI. The Shockers’ offensive power was too much for the Panthers. Wichita State finished the first half on top, 38-26.

Eight first half turnovers were the key to the Shockers’ success. They were able to score 17 points off turnovers.

Wichita State started the second half the way the first half ended. 

A dunk by Shaquille Morris put the Shockers up by 18 points. It seemed like the game was already put away, but something surged within UNI. At the 11:52 mark, Matt Bohannon made a three pointer that was followed by three more. Two three pointers by Paul Jesperson and the third by Washpun followed. 

At the 7:30 mark, the lead dwindled down to four points before Wichita State began their run to the end. Seth Tuttle did his best to keep the game close with seven points, but it was not enough.

 All five Wichita State starters were able to score in the double digits against UNI’s fourth ranked defense. Seth Tuttle was the only Panther to score more than 10 points. UNI will continue their very successful season at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. 

The tournament will start Friday, March 5 in St. Louis, MO at 6:05 p.m.