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College Basketball: UNI falls at Loyola, 85-58

CHICAGO – UNI men’s basketball kept pace in the opening minutes, but struggled to slow down the Loyola-Chicago offense as the Panthers fell to the Ramblers 85-58 at Joseph J. Gentile Arena on Sunday afternoon in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) action.

The Panthers fall to 14-10 overall and 10-4 in MVC play, while the Ramblers improve to 19-5 and 10-3 in league competition.

UNI and Loyola broke the game open early with hot shooting hands before the Ramblers took control from beyond the three-point arc. The Panthers were able to shoot 46.4% from the field, but struggled to slow down Loyola’s high-powered offense, highlighted by 10 first half three-point field goals. Loyola took advantage of 7 UNI turnovers in the opening period, outscoring the Panthers 12-0 off takeaways. Despite 18 points in the first half by AJ Green, including 4 made three-pointers, UNI faced a 12-point deficit heading into the halftime break, trailing 47-35.

The Ramblers continued their hot shooting into the second half with a 9-3 run in the first 4 minutes of the period. UNI would roll off a quick 7-0 run, but struggled to find a spark after, as Loyola attacked the basket from all angles on the floor. Held to 23-points in the second frame on 33% shooting, the Panthers allowed 38 second half points as UNI’s 5-game winning streak was snapped on the road.

AJ Green finished the afternoon with a game-high 20 points with 4 made three-point field goals, with Trae Berhow scoring 10 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. Austin Phyfe and Bowen Born both notched 8 points, as Nate Heise and Tyhwon Pickford scored 5 points each. Noah Carter led the Panthers with 6 rebounds.

PANTHER NOTES

UNI falls to 2nd in the MVC standings with the loss, a half-game behind Loyola.

The Ramblers have won the last 4 matchups with the Panthers.

UNI’s 23 points in the second half were a season-low.

AJ Green surpassed 1,600 career points with his 20-point game against the Ramblers. Green becomes the 7th player in program history to reach this milestone.

Austin Phyfe passed Jim Jackson (1958-61) for 56th on UNI’s all-time scoring list with 893 points. Phyfe is also 20 points from passing his father Steve Phyfe (1987-90) on the all-time scoring list.

Tywhon Pickford jumped up to 72nd on the program’s all-time scoring list with 745 career points, passing Skip Anderson (1967-70).

Tywhon Pickford tied Jake Koch (2008-13) and Matt Bohannon (2012-16) for the second most games played in program history on Sunday with 138. Pickford’s next game played will tie him with Marc Sonnen (2008-13) for first all-time at UNI.

UP NEXT
The Panthers return to action on Feb. 15 on the road against the Illinois State Redbird. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT at Redbird Arena in Normal.

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