PEORIA, Ill. – UNI men’s basketball battled early but struggled to finish in the second half as the Panthers dropped their Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) opener on Wednesday night at Bradley, 68-53. The Panthers are now 7-3 in their last 10 matchups against the Braves.
UNI crashed the offensive boards early and challenged Bradley on the defensive end of the floor. Forcing 10 first half turnovers, UNI outscored the Braves 12-4 off takeaways. While struggling to establish its inside attack, the Panthers matched Bradley with 6 three-point field goals, including 5 coming from the hands of Bowen Born and Trey Campbell. The Panthers and Braves exchanged the lead 4 times in the opening frame, with UNI carrying a narrow one-point lead into the halftime break, 30-29.
UNI built a 5-point lead early into the second half before Bradley found its groove with quick passes to the wing for open three-point shots. The Braves shot 55.2% from the field in the second period and forced 9 Panthers turnovers, outscoring UNI 39-23 in the final 20 minutes of play. Bradley also commanded the offensive end of the floor inside the paint, outscoring UNI 24-10 and 15-3 on points off turnovers.
Born finished the night with 22 points, a career-high against MVC opponents with a pair of rebounds and two assists. Campbell finished with 8 points, as did Tytan Anderson, who led the Panthers with 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Michael Duax also shot 3-of-5 from the floor for a 7-point performance with 3 rebounds.
UNI leads the all-time series against 36-35 following Wednesday night’s game.
Bowen Born jumps to 93rd on UNI’s all-time scoring list with 625 career points after Wednesday’s game, passing Del Nicklaus (1954-57).
Born’s 22-point performance marked the second highest scoring game of his career, following his 30-point effort last Saturday at home against Northern Illinois.
The Panthers are 5-5 in their last 10 games in Peoria.
UNI returns home on Saturday, Dec. 3 for its home conference opener against the Evansville Purple Aces. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT at the McLeod Center. The game will also be broadcast live on the Panther Sports Network/ESPN+, and on the Panther Sports Radio Network.