TAMPA, Fla. — UNI men’s basketball opened the game strong on offense, but soon struggled to find the bottom of the net for the remainder of the first half as the Panthers dropped a 74-65 contest to the South Florida Bulls on Sunday afternoon at the Yeungling Center.
Northern Iowa would hit three early three-point baskets before South Florida’s interior scoring game and three-point shooting capitulated the Bulls into a lead they would not surrender.
Jacob Hutson and Michael Duax opened the game with a layup and three-point bucket to give the Panthers an early 5-0 lead before UNI built a 17-9 advantage with Tytan Anderson, Nate Heise and Kyle Pock getting into the action. South Florida would turn the tables in the final 11 minutes of the opening frame, holding the Panthers scoreless for the next nine minutes and four seconds as the Bulls went on an 18-0 scoring run with the Panthers shooting just 25% (6-of-24) in the first stanza. USF shot 12-of-30 in the first 20 minutes of play, taking a 32-22 lead into the halftime break.
UNI would improve its shooting in the second half with a 50% clip from the floor, but struggled to find consistency from beyond the three-point arc. The Bulls meanwhile would continue to ride their hot hand with four more three-point buckets and ten made free throws in the final period of play, dominating the game particularly in the paint. Northern Iowa would apply defensive pressure down the screen to cut into USF’s lead, but would be unable to overcome its deficit in the nine-point loss.
Hutson led the Panthers with a season-high 14 points, while Duax tallied 11 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Tytan Anderson finished with 11 points and five boards, as Heise recorded a ten-point, five-rebound performance. Campbell meanwhile knocked down two of UNI’s five made three-point baskets for a six-point game.
UNI trails the all-time series against South Florida, 0-2 after falling to the Bulls in back-to-back seasons. Northern Iowa is also 0-2 against the American Athletic Conference (AAC) this season after losing to North Texas in its season opener 12 days ago.
The Panthers are 8-4 all-time against teams from the State of Florida after Sunday’s loss.
USF outscored UNI 14-4 in the paint in the first half before the Panthers established their interior game in the second period. UNI finished the game outscoring the Bulls 32-24 in the paint.
The Panthers head to the Bahamas to tip off the 2023 edition of the Bad Boy Bowers Battle 4 Atlantis beginning this Wednesday morning against No. 20 North Carolina. Opening tip is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT with live coverage on ESPN and the Panther Sports Radio Network.