The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team wrapped up its non-conference play with a 90-78 win over the Iona Gaels on Saturday in the McLeod Center.
UNI (6-6 overall) reached the 90-point plateau for the second time this season and got a game-high 20 points from junior point guard Deon Mitchell. Mitchell also led the Panthers with seven assists. Junior forward Seth Tuttle recorded his 13th career double-double with a career-high 15 rebounds and 11 points. Tuttle also handed out six assists to go along with two blocks and a steal.
The Panthers tied a season-high with 12 three-pointers, with nine of the triples coming in the first half. Iona made 13-of-26 from 3-point land in the contest.
UNI opened up an early 10-point lead at 23-13 on a 3-pointer from junior guard Max Martino. UNI led by as many as 11 in the first half but Iona trimmed the lead to only two points at the half, 49-47.
Iona began the second half with a pair of buckets from Sean Armand and Mike Poole to give the Gaels a 51-49 advantage. However, the Panthers rallied with a 7-0 run capped by a Chip Rank three-pointer to make with 56-51 with 16:53 left in the game.
UNI built a 15-point bulge at 68-53 that was capped by another Martino bucket. Martino finished the contest 3-for-4 from the field with eight points.
Iona got back to within 71-64 on a pair of free throws from Armand with 8:13 left. Iona’s Armand was whistled for his fourth foul with 7:58 left in the game and was assessed a technical foul while protesting the call giving him his fifth foul as well. Armand came into the game averaging 22.0 points per game. He was disqualified from the game after scoring 18 points in 30 minutes of action.
Iona got to within 78-72 with 4:39 left in the game after back-to-back three-pointers from DaShawn Gomez and Poole. Tuttle answered back with a conventional three-point play with 4:29 left and the Gaels would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
UNI will open Missouri Valley Conference play on Wed., Jan. 1, hosting the Bradley Braves at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center.
NOTES: UNI is 29-2 when scoring 80 or more points in the Ben Jacobson coaching era … it’s the fifth time the Panthers have scored 90 or more points under coach Jake … UNI is now 45-9 vs. non-conference opponents in the McLeod Center … UNI is 24-6 in the month of December in the McLeod Center … UNI is 25-4 in Panther Sports Television Network broadcasts … it was Deon Mitchell’s fifth career 20-point scoring game.
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