Panthers win tug-of-war against Evansville, 57-54

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

The UNI men’s basketball team took on the Evansville Purple Aces yesterday. The Panthers won the close match, 57-54.

The Panthers’ offense found Jeremy Morgan very early in the first period of play, shooting 3-4 from the field, as well as going 2-2 from beyond the arc for a 14-10 Panther lead.

With under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Evansville players could not get their shots to fall, shooting only 5-18 from two and 2-8 from three.

Stealing the ball from Evansville with 7:43 left to play, Wes Washpun found himself down low for a three-point play.

Matt Bohannon took off running with the lead, hitting two consecutive threes, followed by a Wyatt Lohaus layup for an 11-point Panther lead.

The Panthers began the second half with a 32-24 lead after Klint Carlson drained a three with only seven seconds left in the first. Bennett Koch had the first two points of the second half with two free throws after being fouled on the drive.

Starting the second half cold, the Panthers had only two free-throw points, otherwise going 0-4 from the field and had not attempted a three-point shot. Evansville slowly caught up and cut the Panthers lead to just one at 34-33.

In a seesaw battle for the lead, Bohannon got the look and drove in for a layup to take the 40-39 lead with 12:17 left to play.

Free throws were the saving grace for the Panthers, going 6-6 in the second half. Washpun took another foul and dropped two more free throws for the 46-45 lead.

A Washpun dunk pumped up the crowd as well as the rest the team. Bohannon followed with a shot from beyond the arc, putting the Panthers up, 52-50.

With a 55-54 Panther lead, the Purple Aces had one last chance to take the lead with three seconds remaining. Morgan blocked the shot attempt to deny any chance.

UNI’s top scorers included Washpun with 14 points; Bohannon with 13 points; and Morgan with 12 points.

The Panthers owe a debt of gratitude to tight free-throw shooting. UNI barely missed with an 88 percent. By contrast, Evansville shot for 57 percent.

The Panthers travel to Des Moines for their rematch against Drake on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m.