CEDAR FALLS — Wyatt Lohaus’ decorated Northern Iowa basketball career has included adversity and accomplishments.
Before the former Iowa City West standout arrived in Cedar Falls in the fall of 2014, he underwent an ablation procedure to fix a cardiac arrhythmia that occasionally kept him out of high school games.
After overcoming the arrhythmia, Lohaus’ first dose of college basketball accomplishment came quickly. As a freshman, he played all 35 games in what became a historic 31-win season with Missouri Valley regular season and tournament championships, along with a win against Wyoming in the NCAA Tournament.
Lohaus was a key component to UNI’s 2015-16 team that won 13 of its last 15 games and made the NCAA Tournament. Lost in the chaos of UNI’s MVC tournament championship as a No. 4 seed was Lohaus’ game-tying layup against Wichita State in the semifinals that sent the game into overtime.
There was also a regular season win over No. 1 North Carolina in 2015, as well as an MVC All-Bench award last season. Lohaus admits he’s fortunate to have experienced all the success as he eventually pinpointed his most fond experiences as a Panther.
“I’d say my whole freshman year with the success we had all year and the consistency we played with — I would kind of just lump that into one whole (favorite) memory because of how much fun that entire year was,” Lohaus said. “And then the way we finished 2015-2016. With the couple of game-winners.”
After all the successes of his freshman and sophomore seasons Lohaus again faced adversity as a junior when an ankle injury shut down his season after six games. A medical redshirt recouped his junior year and after a disappointing 2017-18 season, he said that experience made him a better player, and more thankful for what basketball has brought him.
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Most recently the fifth-year senior guard — who’s second in scoring for UNI at 9.9 points per game — scored a career-high 21 points in a 63-43 win Wednesday night at Missouri State (15-13, 9-6). With six or more Valley teams, including the Panthers (13-15, 8-7), in the mix to play in Thursday night’s dreaded play-in games at the conference tournament, Lohaus’ career night helped moved UNI into fourth place.
With the Panthers on a three-game winning streak, Lohaus sees the potential in this year’s team to make a run and reach its goal of the NCAA Tournament.
“Hopefully here in the next few weeks we can kind of add to that (memories) list,” Lohaus said. “So, (I’m) looking forward to that.
“I like the path we’re on right now. I think we’re more than capable of stringing together those wins in St. Louis and winning the conference championship. But, you know we’re more focused now on the day-to-day stuff.”
UNI coach Ben Jacobson said he could feel Lohaus’ presence Wednesday night against the Bears, explaining that he “just stayed with it” after an ugly first half in which both teams combined to score only 36 points.
As Jacobson began to reflect about the North Liberty native’s career that’s nearing its end, he didn’t hesitate to group Lohaus in with the program’s best.
“He’s in that group of guys that’s given everything he’s got to our program in terms of his dedication,” Jacobson said. “Even when he was hurt he did everything he could everyday with our trainer. I love the kid.”
Northern Iowa hosts Valparaiso at McLeod Center in Cedar Falls Saturday night at 7 p.m. (ESPN3).