With two games to go during the regular season, the UNI Panthers are just one game off the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball standings.
Victories on Wednesday and Saturday pushed UNI’s record to 9-7, just behind a three-way tie between Missouri State Bears, Drake Bulldogs, and Loyola Ramblers, who are each 10-6.
The Panthers clicked on the road Wednesday night in Springfield, defeating the Bears 63-43 behind a 46 point second half.
The impressive finish was far different from the opening 20 minutes, during which both teams were limited to season-low halftime scoring totals. Missouri State led 19-17.
Wyatt Lohaus led the Panthers with 22 points, all of them coming from two-point range or the free throw line.
Three other Panthers were in double figures. Isaiah Brown finished with 15 , Spencer Haldeman added 12, and A.J. Green had 10.
Saturday, the Panthers went up early and never gave up the lead, taking a seven-point edge into the halftime before prevailing 64-53 at the McLeod Center against the Valparaiso Crusaders.
The Crusaders fought back to within one point in the second half, holding the Panther offense to just two field goals during the first ten minutes out of intermission. However, UNI still outscored the Crusaders 34-30 in the second half to secure their ninth MVC victory.
Green led the Panthers in scoring with 22 points. Forward Luke McDonnell added 13.
UNI faces another of the conference co-leaders Wednesday when Loyola visits the McLeod Center.