CEDAR FALLS — Noah Carter’s game-high 25 points and Trae Berhow’s late 3-pointer pushed Northern Iowa past Indiana State in a Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball game at McLeod Center Sunday afternoon, 70-67.
Berhow — who joined Carter in double figures with 10 points — gave the Panthers (6-12, 4-8 MVC) their first lead since early in the first half on the go-ahead 3 with 1:54 to play.
On the following possession, Carter — who added 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season — extended the Panthers’ lead to 68-63 with a three-point play on a driving, reserve-pivot layup with 1:18 remaining.
“He’s just got more willpower right now,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said. “Yesterday he did a nice job defensively of beating cross-screens (and) denying the high-post. He’s playing with more determination. Playing with more discipline. Doing some (good) things defensively with his footwork. When you’ve got some toughness to you, your confidence changes. That’s what’s happening right now.”
Indiana State’s Jake LaRavia drove past Carter to bring the Sycamores within one at 68-67 with 10 seconds to play, but his desperation 3 at the buzzer missed long, snapping the Sycamores’ seven-game winning streak.
“We just kept at it. We continued to battle,” Carter said. “We got Phyfe some touches. We got some 3s to finally fall. We didn’t give up and I think that was the main thing.”
UNI’s comeback from a 13-point second half deficit came courtesy of its defense.
The Panthers held Indiana State (11-8, 8-6) without a field goal for 9:09 late in the second half, going on an 11-2 run during the Sycamores drought and getting defense and play-making from Bowen Born despite the freshman’s first-half struggles.
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“I was having a lot of fun that last 10 minutes. I know that,” Jacobson said. “Usually when that’s the case the guys are playing really hard.”
“(Born) had quite a last seven, eight minutes. What’s great about that is — I think we all can relate to it a little bit — when there’s a little adversity you find out a little bit more about yourself. It didn’t surprise me today that he responded the way he responded. That’s who he is.”
After allowing All-Missouri Valley Conference first-team honoree Tyreke Key to score 31 points in Saturday night’s loss, the Panthers made the Sycamores leading scorer grind his way to 18 on Sunday.
Austin Phyfe scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Born scored eight, hitting a 3 with just under six minutes left that got the Panthers within one possession and assisting on Berhow’s go-ahead 3.
UNI travels to Des Moines Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tipoff (CBSSN) against Drake (18-1, 9-1).