CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — UNI jumped out to a quick start to open the second half, but was unable to cool off a hot shooting Bradley team as the Panthers fell to the Braves, 77-69 on Saturday afternoon inside the McLeod Center.
The Panthers and Braves traded shots early before Bradley took over the first half with 9 three-point baskets, including 3 from Duke Deen in the opening stanza. Despite an even rebounding battle through the first 20 minutes of play, UNI struggled with 8 turnovers, allowing the Braves to build a 14-point lead late into the opening period. Bowen Born and Landon Wolf each knocked down a triple and scored 5 points a piece as the Panthers trailed by 10 heading into the locker room, 37-27.
After giving up a three-point bucket to Connor Hickman, UNI rattled off an 8-0 run early in the second half to pull within 5 points just 2 minutes in. The Braves would ride the hot shooting hand of Hickman in the second half with 3 made three-pointers, and of Rienk Mast, who notched 15 points in the second stanza on 7-of-8 shooting with a strong interior presence. James Betz paced the purple and gold with 14 second half points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers, while Michael Duax notched 12 points in the second period. Duax was able to cut Bradley’s lead down to just 2 points with 10 minutes to play on a layup off a Braves’ turnover, but struggled to slow Bradley down on the opposite side of the floor as the Braves rebuilt a double-digit lead and held on to hand the Panthers the 8-point loss.
Betz finished the night with a team-high 16 points in the loss, while tying a career-high in rebounds (6). Duax tallied 14 points with a career-best 4 steals for UNI, as Born totaled 11 points. Tytan Anderson notched 9 points and 5 rebounds, with Cole Henry posting a 6-point performance.
- UNI and Bradley are now tied in the all-time series history after Saturday’s game with 36 wins a piece.
- Saturday’s loss marks the first time the Panthers have been swept by the Braves in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) regular season play since the 2005-06 season.
- Bradley’s 16 made three-point shots are tied for the most allowed by the Panthers in a home game since Loyola-Chicago made 16 baskets from beyond the arc in February 2022.
- UNI outscored Bradley 28-22 in the paint, and 15-4 on turnovers.
- Bowen Born tied Joe Breakenridge (1997-01) for 49th on UNI’s all-time scoring list, picking up his 956th career point.
- Cole Henry scored his 200th career point on Saturday, becoming the 7th player on this year’s roster to have at least 200 points scored for UNI.
UNI hits the road on Wednesday afternoon in southern Indiana as the Panthers travel to take on the Evansville Purple Aces. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT from the Ford Center with the game being broadcast on ESPN+ and the Panther Sports Radio Network.