After coming up just short during a Tuesday night road game, the Panthers protected their home court Sunday during a matchup with their only in-state conference rival.
Tuesday’s game represented two losses in one.
The Illinois State Redbirds held off UNI 70-69 in Normal. Freshman A.J. Green made two of three free throws with seconds remaining, but only after his first attempt rimmed away on the three-shot foul.
The Redbirds outscored the Panthers 12-4 too pull ahead permanently in the opening six minutes of the second half as UNI struggled to stop Illinois State seniors Milik Yarbrough and Phil Fayne, who finished with 23 and 19 points respectively.
Green led the Panthers in scoring with 19 points while Tywhon Pickford and Wyatt Lohaus each finished with eleven.
Senior guard Miles Wentzien left the game in the first half. He will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season after suffering a torn ACL.
However, UNI recovered to win a close contest Sunday against the Drake Bulldogs, 57-54. Neither team made a shot from the field over the final five-and-a-half minutes of the game; in that time, a pair of Spencer Haldeman free throws represented the only scoring for either side, boosting UNI’s one-point lead to three with five seconds to go.
Three Panthers finished in double-figures led by Lohaus with 14. Green added 11 and with Luke McDonnell finishing at 10.
The Panthers will stay at home for their next contest, hosting the Sycamores of Indiana State Wednesday, January 16.