HONOLULU – UNI men’s basketball was edged out by two points for the second consecutive game at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, 71-69.
Three Panthers were in double-digit scoring, and UNI out-rebounded Wyoming, 38-30. UNI slips to 4-7 overall, and Wyoming improves to 10-2.
UNI made an early stop, setting up Tywhon Pickford to give UNI the early lead from a three-point shot. It was a back-and-forth first half with nine lead changes. However, UNI kept the lead for 15 minutes, 54 seconds. Wyoming took a one-point halftime lead off a half-court shot as time expired.
The Panthers’ defense limited Wyoming to a field goal percentage of 37%. UNI out-rebounded Wyoming 19-13 and scored six points off the Cowboys’ nine turnovers in the first half.
Wyoming’s Xavier DuSell opened the second half with a three-pointer, the biggest lead of the game so far for the Cowboys of the day and extended it with a series of three-pointers. Wyoming led by as many as 13 points. With 3:42 left to play, UNI went on a scoring run whittling down the gap by two through a series of fast breaks and free throws.
Nate Heise led UNI in scoring with 19 points, and Austin Phyfe chipped in 18 points. Noah Carter had a second double-digit night after hitting his 500th career point yesterday. He had 14 points. Tytan Anderson and Heise led the Panthers in rebounding with nine and eight, respectively.
UNI will play Hawaii or South Florida on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
This is UNI’s second appearance in the Diamond Head Classic after finishing in sixth place in 2015. A Missouri Valley Conference team has played in seven of the 12 tournaments held, with a pair of MVC schools finishing as runners-up (Wichita State, 2014 and Indiana State, 2018).
Ben Jacobson coached his 500th game as the head coach of the UNI men’s basketball program when UNI opened the tournament against Liberty. In his 16th season, Jacobson has totaled a record of 305-196 (.609).
With 20 points against Liberty, Noah Carter is the 110th Panther to have scored 500 or more in his career. He added another 14 points to move up as No. 108 on the all-time scoring list for Panthers with 523 career points.
Austin Phyfe moves up a spot on the all-time scoring list. His 842 career points put him No. 64 on the all-time list.