Despite trailing for nearly the entire the first half and a fair percentage of the second, the UNI Panthers men’s basketball squad broke through Saturday against the Drake Bulldogs and celebrated an 83-73 victory in front of a sellout crowd at the McLeod Center.
Drake jumped to 8-0 lead before the Panthers answered with their first field goal from Isaiah Brown. The visitors extended the lead back to eight multiple times during the opening 20 minutes and led by four at halftime.
AJ Green sparked the Panthers and the home crowd in the second half, stacking up 21 of his game-high 34 points after the break. Green went 8-11 from the field in the latter 20 minutes while making four second-half three-pointers.
Trae Berhow finished with 18 points; Spencer Haldeman had a perfect shooting night, going 3-3 from the field, 2-2 from beyond the arc and making all four free-throw attempts for a dozen points.
The Panthers moved to 10-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference, 21-3 overall, and 13-0 at the McLeod Center.
The MVC leaders now look ahead to the Illinois State Redbirds on Wednesday. Illinois State dealt UNI a rare loss, 76-70, in Normal on New Year’s Eve. Wednesday’s game will tip-off at 7 p.m.