KANSAS CITY – UNI men’s basketball jumped out to a quick lead but struggled to find the basket in the final four and a half minutes as the Panthers fell to the San Francisco Dons, 67-63, in their first game of the NABC Hall of Fame Classic on Monday at T-Mobile Center.
The Panthers jumped out to a fast lead hitting four of their first six shots from the field, attacking the basket and holding the Dons to 37.1% shooting from the floor. UNI built a 10-point lead late in the opening half thanks to a strong interior presence by James Betz and Tytan Anderson, who combined for 20 first half points as the Panthers took a 43-32 lead into the break.
UNI continued to attack the paint and began to find a rhythm, with Betz, Michael Duax, Bowen Born and Trey Campbell each hitting a shot from beyond the arc. The Panthers were able to withstand several San Francisco runs to hold onto a healthy lead, but struggled to command the rebounding battle as they did in the opening stanza. San Francisco tied the game at 67 points a piece with 4:28 to play and held UNI to just two points for the remainder of the contest as the Panthers struggled with late free throw attempts.
Betz finished the day with a career-high 19 points, including 3 shots from three-point range. Bowen Born notched 16 points a game-high 5 assists, while Anderson posted his second consecutive double-double with a career-best 14 points and 10 rebounds. Duax scored 11 points in the first start of his career, as Campbell scored 5 points with 4 points from Landon Wolf.
Monday’s matchup with San Francisco was the first all-time meeting against the Dons.
San Francisco is one of 9 programs that made a national postseason tournament a year ago on the Panthers’ schedule this year.
The Panthers are 23-17 in early season non-conference tournament games under head coach Ben Jacobson.
The Panthers return to action tomorrow against either the Wichita State Shockers or Grand Canyon Antelopes in their final game of the Hall of Fame Classic. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. CT at T-Mobile Center. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Network and will also be available on the Panther Sports Radio Network.