CEDAR FALLS – UNI led from the opening tip to the final whistle on Saturday afternoon as the Panthers rolled past the Evansville Purple Aces at home, 72-55 in their Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) home opener inside the McLeod Center. The Panthers now even their MVC at 1-1 following their two early season league games.
UNI jumped out to a fast start off excellent ball movement, building an 18-4 lead in the first five and a half minutes of the opening period. Bowen Born opened the game hitting three consecutive shots from beyond the arc as the Panthers dominated the rebounding battle, doubling up the aces in rebounds 26-13, including 8-3 on offensive boards. Shooting 48.5% from the field and holding Evansville to 31% shooting in the first stanza, UNI carried a 38-20 lead into the halftime break.
The Panthers began the second half on a cold stretch with the Aces shrinking the lead down to as many as 6 points. UNI broke out of its slump with a Landon Wolf three-point basketball and Tytan Anderson two-handed dunk to build the Panther lead back to double-digits. Despite a stronger second half performance by Evansville with the Aces shooting 43.3% from the field, Anderson’s 10 second half points helped the Panthers finish the game and secure the 17-point victory.
Born finished the afternoon with a game-high 29 points, the second-highest scoring game of his career and most points scored against an MVC opponent. Anderson tallied a new career-high with 19 points along with 9 rebounds and 2 steals, with Wolf scoring 9 points on a trio of made three-pointers and grabbing a career-best 6 boards. James Betz recorded 8 points, 4 assists and a pair of solo blocks, as Michael Duax posted a 7-point, 3 rebound and 2 assist game.
UNI improves to 35-28 all-time against Evansville with Saturday’s win. The Panthers have now won 3 consecutive games against the Purple Aces, and 9 of the previous 11.
Bowen Born set a new career-high with 5 made three-point field goals against Evansville, breaking his previous mark of 4 against Utah State (Nov. 27, 2020) and Bradley (Nov. 30, 2022).
The Panthers outscored the Purple Aces 17-2 off of Evansville’s 11 turnovers.
Head coach Ben Jacobson is now 4 wins from passing former Creighton coach Dana Altman for 3rd on the MVC’s all-time wins list. Jacobson has notched 324 career wins at UNI since the 2006-07 season.
Ben Jacobson is also 8 MVC victories away from passing Altman for the second most conference wins in MVC history. Jacobson has won 175 games in the MVC in his 17 seasons at UNI.
The Panthers return home on Tuesday night as they take on the Toledo Rockets in non-conference action. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT with the game being broadcast live on ESPN+ and the Panther Sports Radio Network.