Big First Half Carries UNI Past Illinois State
A 25-0 run in the first half carried the UNI Panthers to an 83-72 victory over Illinois State at the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls Wednesday night (Jan. 24, 2018).
UNI sophomores Isaiah Brown and Juwan McCloud guided the Panthers to their ninth home win of the season. Brown scored a career-high 20 points, while McCloud tallied career highs in assists (9) and steals (6). The six steals tied an arena record, and the nine assists tied for the most-ever by a UNI player at the McLeod Center.
Senior Bennett Koch added 17 points off the bench for the Panthers. Junior Wyatt Lohaus grabbed a career-best eight rebounds.
UNI (11-10 overall, 3-6 MVC) led by as many as 31 points in the contest as the Panthers defeated the Redbirds for the 11th time in 12 tries in the McLeod Center. Illinois State (10-11 overall, 4-5 MVC) was led in scoring by a pair of 20-point outbursts from Keyshawn Evans (25) and Milik Yarbrough (20).
The contest was tied 13-13 following a three-pointer from Illinois State's Yarbrough with 12:51 left in the first half. Then, the Panthers blitzed the Redbirds with a 27-1 run that included a stretch of 25-straight points. UNI hit six 3-pointers during the decisive run, including three by Brown. UNI senior Ted Friedman also attempted -- and made -- the first triple of his career, giving the Panthers a 30-14 advantage with 7:21 remaining in the half.
Illinois State (10-11, 4-5) went more than 10 minutes with making a field goal. Yarbrough snapped the drought with a layup at the 2:21 mark. The Panthers led 41-19 at intermission.
UNI extended its lead to 62-31 with 13:24 left in the game and owned a 26-point edge, at 71-45, at the 8:51 mark. That's when the Redbirds' offense finally showed some life. Illinois State went on a 19-5 run and narrowed the gap to 12 points, at 76-64, with 3:00 left in the game.
The Panthers then made seven free throws down the stretch to close out the win, the third in their last four games.
UP NEXT: UNI plays at Loyola on Sunday (Jan. 28). Tip-off is set for 3 PM at Gentile Arena in Chicago.