CEDAR FALLS — It looked like Klint Carlson was going to put his teammates on his back and carry them to a victory Thursday at McLeod Center against UT Arlington. However, despite Carlson’s game-high 24 points, it ended up taking an outburst of offense from Isaiah Brown, Spencer Haldeman, Tywhon Pickford and Juwan McCloud late in the second half to put away the Mavericks, 62-58.
The senior from Waverly scored 16 points in the first half on a 4-of-4 mark from behind the 3-point line, leading the Panthers to a 29-25 advantage at halftime. Carlson opened the second half with two quick 3s, but the Mavericks’ full court pressure quickly became an issue for UNI after Brown followed Carlson with a pair of free throws to extend the lead to seven.
“I think we were a little off guard just because (UT Arlington) in particular, we didn’t think we’d see that much pressure from them,” junior guard Wyatt Lohaus said after his first game back from a preseason injury. “So it took a few minutes and a couple possessions to sort out.”
The Mavericks’ pressure turned into a 9:34 stretch where UNI did not make a field goal. Haldeman snapped the streak with just over eight minutes to play, but once UNI had sorted out UT Arlington’s full court pressure, it found itself trailing by seven with leading scorer Carlson headed to the bench with four fouls.
“My preparation was not good enough as we saw,” UNI Coach Ben Jacobson said. “Against the press and against the zone we ended up standing around. That has nothing to do with the guys, that’s the preparation part of it, and I let the guys down there.”
After Carlson’s march to the bench with foul trouble, the rest of the UNI (7-2) lineup came alive on offense. A 16-5 run that featured multiple baskets from Haldeman, Brown, Tywhon Pickford and Juwan McCloud put the Panthers back in the lead by seven with just under three minutes to play.
“When that group went back out there when we were down seven, they just decided we’re going to play, we’re going to make some plays and we’re going to find a way to at least give ourselves a chance,” Jacobson said. “It was simply a mentality. As opposed to making a change to our offensive system.”
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Two 3-pointers by Kaelon Wilson and Kevin Hervey — who led the Mavericks with 17 points — pulled UT Arlington (7-2) back within one with less than a minute remaining. On the Panthers’ next possession it was Carlson — back in to finish the game with his four fouls — who made a game-winning decision, kicking out a pass to Haldeman in the corner for a game-clinching 3.
“Kind of a left lane (isolation play) for me. (Spencer’s) guy sucked in a little bit and Spencer’s read is to go to the corner,” Carlson said. “So I knew he was going to be open. I had full confidence that he was going to make that 3, so rather than me taking a tough shot I might as well let him hit a wide-open 3. I told him after the game that was a big shot (and) I was proud of him. It was great to see that go in for him.”
After missing the first eight games of the season with a toe injury, Lohaus returned to action Thursday. Lohaus logged 11 minutes, scored two points and grabbed two rebounds.
“Physically I felt great — conditioning wise, movement wise, so just trying to get back in the swing of things now,” Lohaus said.