CEDAR FALLS — Despite coming back from an early 14-point deficit, Northern Iowa suffered a setback Wednesday night at McLeod Center, falling to last-place Bradley 79-71.
Trae Berhow hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 6:39 to play, but the Panthers’ (10-14, 5-6) lead — much like the two others they grabbed — was short-lived. Darrell Brown, who led all scorers with 29 points, answered Berhow with a 3 as he went on to score 12 of Bradley’s final 23 points.
“In the second half, we went under the ball-screen twice and he made 3s on both of them,” Jacobson said. “Those two hurt. Now, had we gone over (the screen) he was going to continue on the dribble and they may have gotten something good, but we needed to go over the top of those (screens).”
Along with miscues in pick-and-roll coverage, Jacobson described after the game how a couple loose balls the Panthers didn’t come away with in the second half contributed to the narrow loss. But he pointed out that he sees no reason for big changes with seven games to play.
“After the great start (Bradley) had and as well as they were playing, give our guys credit, we put ourselves in a great spot,” Jacobson said. “On your home floor, you got to (dig-in). When you come back from a tough start and you get up four or five points and you got everything going your way — and I think there was still 12 to 13 minutes — there was a lot of game left, but, man, you’ve got to dig-in.”
AJ Green led UNI with 24 points and, at the beginning of the second half, appeared poised to lead the Panthers past the Braves. Green poured in 11 points in 4:25 and gave UNI its largest lead at 47-43 with 15:35 remaining.
Wyatt Lohaus joined Green in double-figures with 12.
With its loss to Bradley (12-12, 4-7) the Panthers will likely need help from their Missouri Valley counterparts to achieve a top-six seed and avoid Thursday play-in games at the conference tournament.
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“I think, first of all, the next 24 hours, tomorrow, getting a good look at the film (and) just figuring out the mistakes we made and how to correct them,” Lohaus said on how to bounce back. Then, once going over this game, just flush it. Then Friday get in as good of preparation as (well) as we can.”
UNI returns to action Saturday when it travels to Des Moines for a 5 p.m. tip vs. Drake (17-7, 6-5).