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College Basketball: UNI defeats Southern Illinois, 72-70

NORMAL, Ill. – UNI men’s basketball defended the basket to the final horn as the Panthers defeated the Illinois State Redbirds 72-70 at Redbird Arena on Tuesday night, earning the program’s 6th consecutive victory of the Redbirds.

The Panthers improve to 15-10 overall on the season, and 11-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), while Illinois State falls to 11-16 and 4-10 in conference action.

In a first half that featured balanced shooting from both UNI and Illinois State, the Panthers were able to move the ball well along the perimeter, but struggled to finish shots. With the Redbird defense pressing throughout the game, UNI was held to just 2 assists in the first half. Noah Carter held pace for the Panthers to 43% shooting and 13 points as Illinois State took a 33-32 lead into the halftime break.

UNI’s offense found a quick spark out of the break as AJ Green and Nate Heise combined to go 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to give the Panthers a 7-point lead. The Panthers also attacked inside the paint to draw contact and earn trips to the free throw line. Illinois State took a 2-point lead on a Kendall Lewis three-point jumper with 2:05 to play, but UNI would hold the Redbirds to just one point down the stretch on an Antonio Reeves free throw, as Noah Carter and Tywhon Pickford iced the game away at the charity stripe to give the Panthers the narrow victory.

Noah Carter led the night with a game-high 23 points and 3 assists, while AJ Green notched 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Trae Berhow posted 10 points and 6 rebounds in the UNI win, as Bowen Born scored 8 points off the bench, and Nate Heise scored 6 points.


UNI’s 6-game winning streak against Illinois State is the longest active streak against any MVC opponent. The win also marks the second straight year the Panthers have swept the regular season series against the Redbirds.

For the 12th time under head coach Ben Jacobson, the Panthers secure a winning regular season record with 3 games to play.

Noah Carter and AJ Green’s scoring performance marks the 3rd game this season where a pair of Panthers scored 20+ points. UNI previously had 2 20-point scorers on Dec. 1 at Bradley and on Jan. 29 at home against Illinois State.
Noah Carter recorded his 11th game this season of 15+ points scored in MVC play on Wednesday night.

Tyhwon Pickford played in his 139th career game on Wednesday, tying him with Marc Sonnen (2008-13) for the most in program history.

UNI is 12-2 this season when leading with 5 minutes to play in regulation.

Trae Berhow improved to 25th on the program’s all-time scoring list with his 1,156th point as a Panther, passing Randy Blocker (1992-94) and Maurice Newby (1986-91)

Austin Phyfe is 18 points from passing his father Steve Phyfe (1987-90) on the all-time scoring list. Austin is now tied with Mike Kemp (1975-79) for 55th on the list with 895 points.

Noah Carter and Tyhwon Pickford rank 72nd and 73rd respectively in career scoring at UNI after Wednesday’s game. Carter has scored 757 points, while Pickford has notched 748.

The Panthers return to action on Feb. 20 at home against the Missouri State Bears. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT at the McLeod Center.

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