Illinois State downs UNI, Panthers lose four straight


Wes Washpun (11) led the Panthers with 23 points along with six assists. Washpun currently leads the MVC with 5.5 assists per game.

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

The UNI men’s basketball team travelled to Illinois State on Saturday to play the Redbirds. The Panthers faced another tough loss on the road with Illinois State coming out on top, 76-67. This marks the fourth straight loss for UNI and puts them at 10-11 for the season

The Panthers started off strong as they gained a 14-6 lead, but the Redbirds chipped away to bring it even. The score was close-knit until Illinois State gained a six-point lead with six minutes left of the half. Jeremy Morgan hit a layup at the end of the half to bring the score to 40-38 in favor of Illinois State.

The second half started with Illinois State’s Deontae Hawkings knocking down a three, but Wes Washpun responded to tie the score, 43-43.

Illinois State then took control of the game and did not give any headway for the remainder. The Panthers attempted a late comeback, but there was not enough time left.

The Panthers shot 47.3 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc. The team ended with 18 points in the paint, four points from the bench and took advantage of the fast break with seven points.

The top scorers for UNI included Wes Washpun with 23 points, Paul Jesperson with 15 points and Matt Bohannon with 13 points.

On the defensive side, Jeremy Morgan crashed the boards all night, putting up eight total rebounds along with three steals and a block. The Panthers also had only eight turnovers compared to Illinois State’s 10.

Despite a disappointing 10-11 record as a team, Washpun, Bohannon and Jesperson have stood out as some of the top scorers in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Washpun currently ranks ninth with 14.9 points per game, Bohannon ranks thirteenth with 12.4 points per game, and Jesperson ranks sixteenth with 11.6 points per game. Washpun also leads the conference with 5.5 assists per game.

Upcoming games feature another game on the road against Bradley, followed by two home games back to back against Southern Illinois and Evansville. Afterward, the team will once again face Drake University in Des Moines.