116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR FALLS — An 18-0 second-half run sent Northern Iowa past Murray State in men’s basketball Tuesday night at McLeod Center, 75-67, extending the Panthers’ winning streak to four games.
Both teams exchanged punches throughout a dramatic second half that featured three lead changes and one tie.
Trailing 28-27 at halftime, the Racers delivered the first punch with a 10-0 run to recapture a 37-33 lead less than four minutes into the game’s final 20 minutes. UNI (9-8, 5-2) then offered its first counterpunch, answering with a 12-2 run punctuated with one of Landon Wolf’s five 3-pointers.
Led by Missouri Valley Conference player of the year candidate Rob Perry, Murray State (9-8, 4-3) quickly got back off the proverbial mat and put together a 17-3 run for a nine-point lead with 7:48 remaining.
Panthers Coach Ben Jacobson said postgame they adjusted their defense on Perry during the under-eight media timeout and preached playing in transition with their base offense.
Over the next six minutes, UNI’s game-winning 18-0 run unfolded.
“Hard to exactly put it into words,” Jacobson said. “You’re down 60 to 51 and they’ve got the momentum and Perry is playing great. I know the feeling I’ve got — tremendously proud of the guys for staying in position. What a stretch that was.”
The Panthers’ 18-0 run began with a Cole Henry contested lay-in and included two more lay-ins and a free throw from the sophomore forward. Wolf added a 3 during the outburst and Bowen Born — who scored a game-high 23 points — contributed six points and three assists during the run.
“We learned a lot in (our) first 10 games and we’re still learning all kinds of stuff,” Jacobson said. “You think back to some of those games where we kind of waited to see who was going to do what on our team, or what the other team was going to do and how we were going to have to respond to it. Starting really with Towson (on Dec. 17) was where that turned the corner a little bit.”
With 1:31 remaining, Perry — who finished with a team-high 22 points — ended the Panthers’ run with a contested layup, but UNI’s press break overmatched Murray State’s full-court defense. Seven made free throws between Born and Trey Campbell clinched the comeback win.
“It’s a lot of fun getting the fans into it,” Wolf said. “This is four (wins) in a row and league games are huge, so, it’s just something I’ve never really been a part of and it’s just a lot of fun, especially the way we’re buying in and believing in each other.”
Three Panthers joined Born in double figures. Wolf finished with 15 points while Henry added 14. Tytan Anderson finished with his third consecutive double-double and eighth of the season, pouring in 11 points and recording a McLeod Center record 18 rebounds.
“(Anderson) is the best rebounder I’ve ever played with, that’s for sure,” Wolf said. “There’s not one (rebound) that I think he’s not going to get. There can be three guys there holding him back and I still think he’s going to go and get it. He’s becoming such a big leader on our team — him and Bowen.”
UNI travels to Belmont (12-6, 5-2) Saturday for a 4 p.m. tipoff at Curb Event Center (ESPN+).