CHICAGO – UNI men’s basketball rallied from down as many as 16 points to beat the UIC Flames in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) play on Saturday afternoon at Credit Union 1 Arena, 78-72. The victory marks UNI’s first road win against the Flames since Jan. 28, 1989 when the Panthers and UIC were members of the Mid-Continent Conference.
UIC shot out of the gate with a strong performance from beyond the arc, hitting 8 three-point baskets in the first half, including three made shots by Jace Carter, and 7 assists by Tre Anderson. After having their interior game stifled early in the game and trailing by as many as 16 points, the Panthers used an 8-0 run in the middle of the half to cut into the Flames’ lead while holding UIC scoreless on 5 straight possessions. Michael Duax and Bowen Born each notched 7 points each as the Panthers went into the halftime break trailing 38-31.
UNI gradually chipped away at UIC’s lead with Duax pulling the Panthers within 2 points five and a half minutes into the period. Forcing 8 UIC turnovers with 4 steals on defense, the Panthers outscored the Flames 19-11 in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza, taking their first lead of the day on a Tytan Anderson layup 8 minutes in. Both teams jockeyed for control of the lead for the remainder of the game with UNI slowing UIC’s attack inside the paint, while the Panthers’ three-point found consistency inside the paint and from beyond the arc. Drawing contact and shooting 15-of-18 from the free throw line, helping UNI hold off a late push by the Flames and to secure the road victory.
Duax finished the game with a career-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, while Born notched 18 points with 9 made free throws. Anderson scored 17 points for the Panthers with 8 rebounds, as Landon Wolf scored 7 points. Trey Campbell and James Betz tallied 6 and 5 points respectively, while Cole Henry totaled 4 points and a career-high-tying 6 assists.
UNI now leads the all-time series with UIC, 12-11 after Saturday’s victory. The Panthers have split the previous four meetings with the Flames.
The Panthers outrebounded the Flames 36-26, including 12-5 on offensive boards.
UNI has held its opponent under 80 points in 12 consecutive games.
The Panthers are 8-2 in their previous 10 games, tied for the second-best record in the MVC during that span with Belmont.
After an 18-point effort on Saturday, Bowen Born is now tied for 60th on UNI’s all-time scoring list with Wyatt Lohaus (2014-19) with 877 career points.
UNI returns to action on Wednesday, January 25 as the Panthers host the Valparaiso Beacons at 7 p.m. CT in the McLeod Center. Fans are encouraged to wear pink in honor of the team’s annual Hope Always game to raise awareness in the fight against cancer. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN+ and the Panther Sports Radio Network.