MVC Champions: UNI Men’s Basketball

DYLAN PADY, Sports Editor | [email protected]

A big weekend for the  UNI men’s basketball team resulted in an MVC tournament domination. After a final buzzer beater jump shot by Wes Washpun, the Panthers are going dancing at the NCAA tournament.

This weekend’s competitors consisted of Drake University (No. 10), Bradley (No. 9), Loyola (No. 8), Missouri State (No. 7), Indiana State (No. 6), Southern Illinois (No. 5), UNI (No. 4), Illinois State (No. 3), Evansville (No. 2) and Wichita State (No. 1).

UNI vs. Sourthern Illinois

The first of the Panthers’ three games was against the Southern Illinois Salukis (SIU), where they came away with the suspenseful victory of 66-60.

It was a competitive scoring effort from each team. Very early in the game, Jeremy Morgan drove in for the layup, fueling the fire for Wyatt Lohaus. Lohaus made four consecutive baskets, three from inside and even knocking home the trifecta putting UNI up 20-12.

However, SIU did not go down that easy, and by the end of the first half the Panthers were only ahead by one.

Morgan heated up after the halftime break as he shot 3-4 from the field and 2-3 from deep for a total of 12 points in the second half alone.

Many points in the second half came from the charity strike, as the Panthers made 15-18 free throws and finished the game shooting 18-25, helping secure the win.

After their victory against the Salukis, the Panthers then upset top-seeded Wichita State with a final score of 57-52 in overtime.

UNI vs. Wichita State

It was a very slow start for UNI, as they shot 0-9 in the first 7:30 of the game. The Shockers took advantage by gaining an early 10-0 lead.

The scoring drought finally ended after a three-pointer by Washpun. Many of the Panther baskets were dropping from inside the paint.

After multiple players took their turn at the free throw line, the Panthers cut their deficit to 29-23 at halftime.

A scoreless four minutes began the second half. This was ended by a fast-break layup by Morgan. The Panthers fought hard but trailed most of the second, and the game was tied up by a Lohaus layup to send the game into overtime.

Klint Carlson got the first basket of overtime and with a minute left to play. Morgan connected from deep to put the Panthers up 55-52. Washpun followed with a successful jump shot of his own, and UNI walked away with the victory, 57-52.

UNI vs. Evansville

An exciting championship game that featured UNI against Evansville gave fans an emotional rollercoaster of a game.

The Panthers opened up with a 13-6 run in the first half. The Purple Aces could not stop the Panthers as they let a Panther 10-3 run. Evansville managed to score a few baskets before halftime to cut the Panther lead to 32-18.

Morgan drained a three to start off the second half. Evansville scored an 11-3 run to cut the Panther lead to 38-29. The Purple Aces slowly decreased the lead until they took a 48-47 lead with 4:18 remaining in the game.

The rest of the game was a tug-of-war with the lead, changing six times before the finish. With just five seconds remaining, Washpun crossed over to middle court, and with a hand in his face, drained the fade away jump shot to emerge victorious, 56-54.

In this close game, Washpun finished with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Carlson was close behind with 17 points, five rebounds and one assist. Morgan also contributed 14 points, four rebounds and one assist.

With the MVC Championship under their belt, UNI now has an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Selection Sunday is on March 13 which will decide where UNI will be seeded.