The UNI Panthers are going to the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament following a 61-58 opening-round victory over SMU in the Bahamas Wednesday night (Nov. 22, 2017).

The Panthers (4-1 overall) used a 21-2 run to build a 15-point lead in the first-half, then survived a late rally by the Mustangs. Sophomore guard Spencer Haldeman buried four three-pointers to help UNI turn an early 14-10 deficit into a 31-16 advantage. Coach Ben Jacobson's squad made six of its first 10 shots from behind the arc and held a 31-23 lead at the break.

UNI's largest advantage in the second half was 13 points. Isaiah Brown's jumper at the 17:56 mark put the Panthers ahead 36-23. After that, the Mustangs (4-1 overall) twice trimmed the margin to a single digit. UNI, however, never relinquished the lead.

The Panthers out-rebounded SMU 37-27.

Haldeman ended the night with 15 points to lead four UNI players in double-figures. Bennett Koch scored 12 points, Tywhon Pickford added 11 and Juwan McCloud 10 for the Panthers.

UNI's victory over the Mustangs wrapped up a wild day that featured a pair of upsets in the other quarterfinal games. North Carolina State stunned No. 2 Arizona, 90-84; Tennessee knocked off No. 20 Purdue, 78-75, in overtime; and No. 5 Villanova survived a battle with Western Kentucky, 66-58.

UP NEXT: UNI plays North Carolina State in the tournament semifinals on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23). Tip-off from Imperial Arena on Paradise Island is scheduled for 2 p.m. (Iowa time) on ESPN2.


Courtesy: UNI Athletics via YouTube