UNI men’s basketball holds off Illinois State for road win

NORMAL, sick — UNI men’s basketball defended the basket to the last horn as the Panthers beat the Illinois State Redbirds 72-70 at Redbird Arena on Tuesday night, earning the Redbirds’ 6th straight win for the program .

The Panthers improve to 15-10 overall this season and 11-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), while Illinois State drops to 11-16 and 4-10 in conference action.

In a first half that featured even shots from UNI and Illinois State, the Panthers were able to move the ball well along the perimeter, but struggled to finish shots. With Redbird’s defense pressing throughout the match, UNI were limited to just 2 assists in the first half. Noah Carter held the Panthers’ pace to 43% shooting and 13 points as Illinois State took a 33-32 halftime lead.

UNI’s attack found a quick spark after the break as AJ Green and Nate Heise combined to go 4 for 4 from beyond the arc to give the Panthers a 7-point lead. The Panthers also attacked inside the paint to make contact and earn trips to the free throw line. Illinois State took a 2-point lead on a three-point jumper from Kendall Lewis with 2:05 left, but UNI would keep the Redbirds just one point down the stretch on an Antonio Reeves free throw , like Noah Carter and Tywhoon Pickford froze the game at the charity stripe to give the Panthers the narrow victory.

Noah Carter led the night with a game-high 23 points and 3 assists, while AJ Green had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Trae Berhow posted 10 points and 6 rebounds in UNI’s win, as Bowen-born scored 8 points off the bench, and Nate Heise scored 6 points.

PANTHER NOTES

  • UNI’s 6-game winning streak against Illinois State is the longest active streak against an MVC opponent. The win also marks the second straight year the Panthers have swept the regular-season series against the Redbirds.
  • For the 12th time under head coach Ben Jacobsonthe Panthers secure a regular season winning record with 3 games remaining.
  • Noah Carter and AJ Green’s the scoring performance marks the 3rd game this season where a pair of Panthers have scored more than 20 points. UNI had already scored 2 20-point scorers on Dec. 1 at Bradley and Jan. 29 at home against Illinois State.
  • Noah Carter recorded his 11th game this season of 15+ points scored in MVC play Wednesday night.
  • Tyhwon Pickford played his 139th career game on Wednesday, tying him with Marc Sonnen (2008-13) for the most in program history.
  • UNI are 12-2 this season as they lead with 5 minutes left in regular time.
  • Trae Berhow improved to 25th on the program’s all-time goalscoring list with his 1,156th point as a Panther, passing Randy Blocker (1992-94) and Maurice Newby (1986-91)
  • Austin Phyfe is 18 points behind his father Steve Phyfe (1987-90) on the all-time goalscoring list. Austin is now tied with Mike Kemp (1975-79) for 55th on the list with 895 points.
  • Noah Carter and Tyhwon Pickford are 72nd and 73rd in UNI career scoring respectively after Wednesday’s game. Carter scored 757 points, while Pickford scored 748.

FOLLOWING

The Panthers return to play Feb. 20 at home against the Missouri State Bears. Tipping is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. CT at the McLeod Center.

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