CEDAR FALLS — Trae Berhow’s tip-in that seemed to draw Northern Iowa even with Bradley at 75 was waved off by officials after review showed the McLeod Center game clock started late on the game’s final play Monday night, sending the Braves to a 75-73 win.
Berhow’s tip-in came after Bowen Born was fouled with three seconds left and the Panthers trailing by three. The freshman point guard made his first free throw, intentionally missed the second and got his own rebound but missed a desperation 3 for the win.
Bradley’s win was similar to the series’ first game Sunday afternoon, featuring 14 lead changes, 13 ties and an even score at halftime.
“All of that (final sequence) was good. That’s as good as you’re going to get in that situation,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said. “Our execution with everything that last kinda three minutes — we had the ball in our hands and we had a 3-point shot in the air to beat them.”
“We just need to start chipping away at some of those (defensive mistakes) so we’re just a little harder to play against.”
After halftime the Panthers got their largest separation of the game, going on an 11-2 run for a 41-33 advantage. Born — who scored a career-high 17 points — hit two 3s during the early second half outburst, but Bradley (7-4, 1-1) responded with a 6-0 run of its own to again make it a one-possession game.
“We obviously have a lot of ways that we can improve,” Born said after the loss. “That’s kind of what we’ve been talking about this past week and really the whole season — just about each guy limiting however many mistakes they have.”
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UNI’s offensive adjustment toward set plays in favor of its base Flow offense prior to its series against the Braves once again proved effective Monday night. Junior center Austin Phyfe — who scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists — detailed after the loss how defensive shortcomings were the main culprit.
“I think we’re getting there (defensively),” Phyfe said. “We’re still pretty young. We’re still working on some of our rotations and things like that. I think it’s coming. We’ve seen at practice a lot more guys trying to communicate. I know personally, me, Trae Berhow and Tywhon Pickford need to step up a little bit and take a role of just being better communicators to help those young guys learn those rotations.”
Four Braves reached double-figures with Elijah Childs and Ja’Shon Henry leading the way with 16 apiece.
Berhow was the only Panther to join Born in double-figures with 15.
UNI (3-8, 2-4) returns to action Saturday and Sunday for its two-game season series against Loyola-Chicago (8-3, 3-1) at Gentile Arena.