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College Basketball: UNI travels to Southern Illinois tonight, seeking fourth-straight win over Salukis

CEDAR FALLS - The final week of the regular season gets underway for UNI men's basketball as the Panthers visit Southern Illinois in their final road game of the year on Wednesday night.

CEDAR FALLS – The final week of the regular season gets underway for UNI men’s basketball as the Panthers visit Southern Illinois in their final road game of the year on Wednesday night at the Banterra Center in Carbondale. The Panthers have won 3 straight against the Salukis, including their previous matchup on Jan. 7 win at home, 69-57.

UNI snapped a 6-game win streak with a 69-66 win at Missouri State on Saturday, looking to build momentum ahead of next week’s MVC Tournament in St. Louis. SIU will honor their senior class in its home finale on Wednesday, coming off a 50-48 to league-leading Bradley at home.

Southern Illinois narrowly leads the all-time series 38-36 with the Panthers having won 4 of the last 5 meetings. In their last meeting with the Salukis, Bowen Born scored a game-high 27 points, as Tytan Anderson notched a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double, with Cole Henry scoring a career-best 12 points.

UNI PANTHERS

The Panthers found an early offensive rhythm with excellent ball movement and an attack inside the paint at Missouri State on Saturday, shooting 51.9% from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play. Missouri State’s depth on its bench and ability to score on second chance opportunities allowed the Bears to take control and lead for most of the game. Despite a hard perimeter defense, UNI gave up 5 three-point baskets to Missouri State and was outrebounded 17-13 in the opening stanza as the Panther trailed 38-33 heading into the halftime break.

Michael Duax got the Panthers off to a strong start with 4 points to open the second half as UNI gradually chipped away at Missouri State’s 7-point lead throughout the period. The Panther defense held the Bears to 31% shooting in the final 20 minutes, and improved in the rebounding battle. Born would tie the game and give UNI its first lead of the game after being fouled on a made layup and free throw at 65-64. Born and James Betz would knock down 4 additional free throws as the Panther defense stifled the Bears’ final attack, allowing UNI to hold on for the 3-point win.

Born finished the day with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting with 3 made triples, as well as 3 assists. Duax notched 17 points with 3 rebounds and a pair of steals in the Panther win, while Anderson recorded a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double.  Trey Campbell scored 8 points with a pair of three-point baskets, while Henry and Betz tallied 4 points each.

Born has averaged 18.1 points per game in league play this season, and ranks fourth in the MVC in total points scored (505) and fourth in overall average (18.0 points per game).

Born’s 10 highest scoring games of his career have all come this season.

  • 30 points at Drake (Feb. 1)
  • 30 points vs. Northern Illinois (Nov. 26)
  • 29 points vs. Evansville (Dec. 3)
  • 27 points vs. Southern Illinois (Jan. 7)
  • 27 points vs. Towson (Dec. 17)
  • 27 points vs. Toledo (Dec. 6)
  • 25 points at Illinois State (Dec. 31)
  • 23 points vs. Missouri State (Dec. 28)
  • 23 points vs. Murray State (Jan. 10)
  • 22 points at Bradley (Nov. 30)

Anderson’s 11 double-doubles lead the MVC and rank 19th most in the nation. He also leads the league in rebounds per game (9.0) and defensive rebounds per contest (6.7). Anderson’s league-best 252 total rebounds this season are 31st most in the country. The Eldridge, Iowa native entered the season averaging 1.9 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

Seven freshmen in the MVC this season have scored 150+ points in their first season on the floor, including three Panthers in Michael Duax (277 points), Trey Campbell (215 points) and Landon Wolf (196 points).

Collectively, the Panthers lead the nation in points per game scored by in-state players, as Iowa-born players have accounted for 68.8 points a game
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The Panthers have averaged 15.2 personal fouls per game, third fewest in the MVC this year. As a result, UNI has also averaged 17.1 free throw attempts per game, fifth most in the conference.

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