UNI Splits MVC Series Opener With Missouri State
What a difference a day makes.
Nearly 26 hours after suffering a 20-point setback to Missouri State, UNI held the Bears scoreless for the first six-and-a-half minutes and recorded an 85-75 victory in the series finale Monday night.
The Panthers (2-5 overall, 1-1 MVC) started the game making six of their first seven shots while building a 16-0 lead. UNI extended the margin to 37-11 and owned a 41-28 advantage at intermission following a 17-4 Missouri State run over the final seven minutes of the half.
In all, 10 players scored for UNI in the first half. One of them was George Mason transfer Goanar Mar, who scored his 500th career point.
Austin Phyfe made of five of his six shots and tallied 12 points for the Panthers during the first 20 minutes. The redshirt junior forward from Waverly ended the night with a game-high 21 points, one of four UNI players to tally double-figures.
Freshman guard Nate Heise registered a career-high 15 points. Senior guard Trae Berhow added 12 and freshman guard Bowen Born chipped in 11.
The Panthers led the entire game, but their advantage was cut to five points early in the second half. Isiaih Mosley scored eight of his team-high 20 points for Missouri State in the first two-and-a-half minutes following the break. The Bears (4-1, 1-1) narrowed the deficit to 45-40 with 16:08 to play, but got no closer.
Gaige Prim also scored 20 points to lead Missouri State.
UNI extended the margin to 59-44 at the 12:31 mark with a 10-1 run. Missouri State narrowed the gap to single digits five times down the stretch, but each time the Panthers responded and pushed their lead back to double-digits.
The victory was a complete turn-around for UNI following Sunday afternoon's 79-59 loss in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both squads. Playing their first game since Dec. 9 at Richmond, the Panthers made just 33-percent of their shots (22-67) in the 20-point loss.
Missouri State's victory snapped UNI's 17-game winning streak at the McLeod Center. In a series that began in 1983, the margin of victory was the largest ever for the Bears in Cedar Falls.