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UNI men’s basketball comes up short on the road at Drake, 77-63

Campbell leads the Panthers with 18-point performance in Des Moines. UNI visits Bradley on Wednesday night in Peoria.

DES MOINES – A shorthanded UNI men’s basketball team gave the defending Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament champions all they could handle on Saturday night, coming up short in a 77-63 loss to the Drake Bulldogs inside the Knapp Center.

Northern Iowa led by two points after a stellar defensive play to end the first half, but could not keep up the offensive efficiency in the second period as the Panthers saw their season-best five-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of their in-state rival.

Trey Campbell helped set the tone early for the UNI offense with Cole Henry establishing a presence for the Panthers inside the paint as Northern Iowa grabbed an early five-point lead. Drake would storm back on the backs of reigning Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year Tucker DeVries as the Bulldogs rattled off a 15-2 run to take a nine-point advantage into the final minutes of the opening half. Aided by three-point baskets by Landon Wolf and Tytan Anderson battling inside the lane, UNI chipped away at Drake’s leading into the waning minutes. With 28 seconds to play, RJ Taylor gave the Panthers the lead on a steal from DeVries and a three-point scoring play, giving UNI a 38-36 lead into halftime.

Northern Iowa kicked off the second half with an 8-0 to build its biggest lead of the night at ten points within the first three minutes of play. The Bulldogs would surge back however, shooting 44.4% from the field in the final frame and burying six three-point field goals. Despite maintaining a narrow one possession lead for the front half of the period, UNI could not slow Drake’s speed and strength inside the paint down the stretch. Taylor would give the Panthers a one-point lead at 61-60 with five minutes and 20 seconds to go, but the Bulldogs would effectively shut down UNI’s offense with a 17-2 run to close the game, holding the Panthers scoreless for the final two and a half minutes.

Campbell led Northern Iowa with a team-high 18 points with six rebounds, while Wolf recorded an 11-point performance with three made three-point baskets, along with two rebounds. Nate Heise tallied nine points with a team-high seven rebounds, as Anderson finished the night with nine points, five rebounds and three assists. Cole Henry and Taylor both recorded five points, while Jacob Hutson finished with four points.

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Saturday’s game was Drake’s third consecutive win in the series. The Panthers still lead the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 51-34. UNI and Drake met for the 85th time on Saturday, the third-longest active MVC series for the Panthers, trailing only Illinois State (89) and Missouri State (86).
Tytan Anderson extended his streak of scoring at least one point in 53 consecutive games, the longest streak among active Panthers.
Landon Wolf surpassed the 300 career point milestone on Saturday with his 11-point performance. Cole Henry is also one point shy of his 300th career point.
Michael Duax notched his 200th career rebound in Saturday’s loss, pulling down three boards against the Bulldogs.
Nate Heise’s nine-point performance moved him to 74th on UNI’s all-time scoring list with 789 career points, passing Isaiah Brown (2016-20). Only 71 other players in program history have recorded 800+ points in their UNI careers.

UP NEXT
The Panthers return to the road on Wednesday, Jan. 31 for a matchup against the Bradley Braves. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT at Carver Arena in Peoria with live coverage available on CBS Sports Network and the Panther Sports Radio Network.

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