CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — All five Panther starters cracked double-digit scoring figures on Wednesday night as UNI men’s basketball won its fourth straight home game in a 77-66 win over the Valparaiso Beacons inside the McLeod Center.
UNI is now 17-1 all-time at home against the Beacons, while head coach Ben Jacobson tied former Creighton Coach Dana Altman with his 182nd Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) game win, second most in league history.
The Panthers commanded excellent ball movement the whole night on the court, drawing the Beacons into early foul trouble in the first ten minutes of play and slowing Valparaiso big man Ben Krikke down offensively. UNI held the Beacons scoreless for nearly five and a half minutes as the Panthers went on a 13-0 run, with Bowen Born sank three baskets from beyond the arc. Michael Duax and Tytan Anderson also tallied 9 first half points each. Shooting 57.1% from the field, the Panthers roared into the Halftime break with a commanding 45-28 lead.
Valparaiso’s shooting picked up as Krikke and Kobe King attacked the paint, allowing the Beacons to cut UNI’s 17-point Halftime lead down to as many as 5 points. The Panther defense held firm however, drawing contact on Beacon drives to the basket and weaving their way on offense through double coverage under the basket. Quickly finding themselves in the bonus, the Panthers shot 14-of-17 free throws in the second half to rebuild their lead and pick up the 11-point win.
Born led UNI with 18 points at the final buzzer, as Anderson recorded his MVC-leading ninth double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Duax scored 15 points with 7 boards, while James Betz scored 12 points with 6 rebounds and a career-high tying 6 assists. Trey Campbell rounded out UNI’s starting five in scoring with 10 points.
- UNI improves to 31-5 all-time against Valparaiso. The Panthers are also 9-3 against the Beacons since they joined the conference in 2017. UNI’s win marks the first regular season sweep of Valparaiso since the 2019-20 season.
- The Panthers outscored Valparaiso 34-28 in the paint, and 17-6 in fast breaks in Wednesday’s win.
- For the first time since Feb. 15, 2020 in an 82-73 overtime loss at Loyola-Chicago, all five Panther starters scored in double-digit figures. In that loss two years ago, UNI was led by AJ Green (19 points), Spencer Haldeman (16 points), Trae Berhow (13 points), Austin Phyfe (12 points) and Isaiah Brown (11 points).
- Wednesday’s game was the 250th UNI men’s basketball game played inside the McLeod Center. The Panthers are 193-57 (.772) since the venue opened in Nov. 2006.
- UNI has held its opponents under 80 points in 13 consecutive games.
The Panthers return to the road this Saturday, January 28 as UNI visits the Indiana State Sycamores in Terre Haute. Opening tip is scheduled for 12 pm CT with the game being broadcast on ESPN3 and the Panther Sports Radio Network.