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Panthers Hold Off Bears 94-89 (Video)

University of Northern Iowa Panthers - men's Basketball
UNI Panthers

The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team improved to 4-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 94-89 victory over the visiting Missouri State University Bears on Saturday in the McLeod Center.

UNI (10-8 overall) got a career-high 26 points from junior forward Nate Buss in his first career collegiate start. Buss, a Charles City native,  made 10-of-13 field goal attempts and 5-of-6 3 pointers in the victory. Buss wasn’t the only Panther to hit a high percentage as the squad shot a season-best 67.4 percent from the floor (31-of-46).

Junior forward Seth Tuttle recorded his second straight 20-plus scoring effort with 21 points and five rebounds. Tuttle made 7-of-8 shots from the field. Junior guard Deon Mitchell and sophomore guard Wes Washpun each added six assists for the Panthers.

UNI had a 13-point lead in the first half with 3:49 left in the half after a three-pointer from sophomore guard Matt Bohannon. But the Panthers did not score over the final 3:49 of the half and the Bears cut the UNI halftime lead to 39-36 with a 10-0 run.

Buss and Bohannon each made 3-pointers in the opening 37 seconds of the second half to give UNI a 45-36 lead.

The Bears battled back and took their first lead of the game at 61-59 on a three-pointer from Gavin Thurman with 9:10 left in the game. On UNI’s ensuing possession, Tuttle found junior guard Max Martino open in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave the lead back to UNI for good at 62-61 with 8:40 left.

Missouri State closed to within two points at 67-65, but the Panthers put together a 12-2 run that opened the margin to 12 at 79-67 with 3:49 left in the game.

The Bears did not go away easily and whittled the lead to two points at 88-86 following a 3-pointer from Austin Ruder with 22.2 seconds left. Tuttle added four free throws and Washpun drained two more in the closing seconds to allow UNI to post the 94-89 triumph.

Missouri State was led in scoring by Ron Mvouika’s game-high 28 points. Mvouika drained 10-of-13 shots from the field, including a perfect 6-for-6 from 3-point land.

Next Up: UNI will travel to Peoria, Ill., for a Wednesday matchup against the Bradley Braves. Tip is set for 7 p.m. at Carver Arena.

NOTES:

  • UNI has had a double-digit lead in all six MVC games the Panthers have played this season
  • UNI improved to 7-0 at home this season in the McLeod Center
  • UNI has won nine of the last 11 meetings against the Bears
  • Tuttle needs 16 more points to reach the 1,000-point mark in his UNI career
  • Tuttle has scored 20 or more points eight times in his career
  • Buss has reached the 20-point mark three times in his career
  • Missouri State set the mark for the highest shooting percentage by an opponent in the McLeod Center by making 59.3 percent of its shots on Saturday (the previous mark 57.8 percent was set by Texas Southern on Nov. 23, 2008)

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