DES MOINES – In one of the most hotly contested games in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) this season, UNI men’s basketball rose to the occasion on Saturday night defeating the Drake Bulldogs 74-69 in overtime at a packed Knapp Center. The win comes just two weeks after the Bulldogs bested the Panthers in an overtime battle in Cedar Falls.
UNI improves to 13-9 on the season and 8-3 in MVC play, while Drake falls to 17-7 and 8-3 in league action. The victory snapped Drake’s 4-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the conference, and puts the Panthers into second place in the league standings.
Drake opened the afternoon on a 7-0 run as UNI struggled in the opening minutes to find rhythm offensively. Establishing a strong physical presence inside and controlling much of the rebounding game in the first half, the Panthers challenged the Bulldogs and climbed back into the game by attacking the paint, grabbing 8 offensive rebounds in the process. UNI would head into the halftime break trailing Drake 36-34, after leading by as many as 10 points early in the game.
The Panthers and Bulldogs battled back and forth to open the second half, a period that featured 13 lead changes and 7 ties. Attacking the lane and forcing contact to make trips to the free throw line,
UNI took a 3-point lead with 1:46 to play in regulation. Roman Penn would tie the game for Drake with a layup and free throw with 13 seconds remaining, forcing the game into overtime.
In overtime, the Panthers held the Bulldogs to just one field goal on 10 attempts, outscoring Drake 11-6 in the bonus five minutes of play. On a night where UNI attacked in transition, the Panthers closed strong from the free throw line with 5 attempts to close out the game, and pick up the critical road win.
Noah Carter led the night with a game-high 23 points, his 10th game this season of scoring 15 or more points in conference play. Trae Berhow scored 16 points for the Panthers, while Tywhon Pickford notched 8 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. Nate Heise, Bowen Born, and AJ Green all posted 7-point performances, with Green dishing out a game-high 4 assists. Born recorded a season-high 4 steals on defense, as Carter and Austin Phyfe both tied season-highs with 2 blocks each
With the victory, UNI now holds the longest active win streak in the MVC at 4 games.
The Panthers improve to 2-2 in overtime games this season. Both matchups with Drake this year have ended in overtime.
UNI was outrebounded by Drake 44-41 on Saturday, marking the second consecutive game the Panthers have won this season when the opponent controls the boards.
The Panthers outscored Drake 11-0 in fast break plays.
The Panthers have made at least 10 free throws in 13 of the last 15 games.
UNI improves to 10-2 this season when leading with 5 minutes remaining in regulation.
Trae Berhow’s two made three-point field goals moves him into a tie with Ben Jacobson (2002-06) for 3rd all-time in three-pointers in UNI history with 203. AJ Green sits one spot above him with 235 career three-point field goals.
Noah Carter improves to 76th on UNI’s all-time scoring list, scoring his 725th career point against the Bulldogs.
Trae Berhow jumped up to 27th on the program’s all-time scoring list with his 1,129th point scored as a Panther on Saturday, passing Maurice Newby (1986-91).
Tyhwon Pickford is now 73rd on UNI’s career scoring list with 740 points, passing Frank Stotts (1956-59).
Austin Phyfe is 30 points from passing his father Steve on UNI’s career scoring list. Steve Phyfe, who played for the Panthers from 1987-90, was a member of UNI’s first NCAA Tournament team in 1990.
The Panthers return to action on Feb. 9 at home against the Southern Illinois Salukis. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT at the McLeod Center. UNI will celebrate faculty and staff, as well as Equality and Inclusion Night during the game.