Panthers Hold Off Second-Half MSU Surge In MVC Finale

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Missouri State went nearly nine minutes without a field goal midway through the first half to squander an early lead, and host UNI held off a late surge by the Bears in a 71-56 Panthers’ victory here Saturday in the regular-season finale for both clubs.
 
UNI (15-15, 7-11 MVC) was led by seniors Klint Carlson and Hunter Rhodes with 16 and 13 points, respectively. The Panthers shot 51 percent from the field and made eight 3-pointers.
 
MSU (17-14, 7-11 MVC) got 14 points from Jarred Dixon, 11 from Jarrid Rhodes and 11 from Alize Johnson, while Obediah Church contributed a career-high 13 rebounds.
 
After trailing by 14 at the break, MSU came out with a purpose to start the second half, getting a bucket from Johnson, a couple of layups by Dixon and a triple from freshman Mustafa Lawrence to make a dent. Johnson’s layup at 15:53 got MSU within 46-36, and Rhodes’ layup with 14 minutes to go made it 48-40.
 
UNI responded with a 5-0 outburst, capped by a Carlson hook shot to push the home side ahead by 13 again, but Dixon’s 3-point play and Church’s dunk made it 53-45 with 9:21 to go.
 
Later in the half, Ryan Kreklow drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to get the Bears within nine. His triple gave him 112 for his career and ties him for 10th on the MSU career list.
 
With just over six minutes to go, the Bears made their final surge, using a pair of free throws by Kreklow and Rhodes to make it 61-52. But, on UNI’s next possession, Rhodes dropped in his third trey of the game to dash MSU’s comeback hopes.
 
MSU, which dropped its fourth straight, finished 19-of-52 (.365) from the field, 7-of-21 (.333) from long range and a perfect 11-of-11 (1.000) at the stripe. The Bears also out-rebounded the Panthers by a 30-29 margin and committed just nine turnovers.
 
The Panthers converted 26-of-51 shots with Wyatt Lohaus and Carlson each making 5-of-7. UNI also finished 8-of-21 (.381) from bonus distance and 11-of-12 (.917) at the line with six turnovers.
 
The first half started well for the visitors as Missouri State led 5-0 out of the gates, 10-6 just three minutes in, and 15-11 after a three by Ross Owens with 13:17 to play in the stanza.
 
UNI answered Owens’ bucket with five straight points by Lohaus to give the Panthers their first lead, but Missouri State responded with a perimeter jumper from Tanveer Bhullar and a triple by Dixon to restore order, 20-16, at the midway point in the half.
 
But from that point on, the Bears went ice cold from the field, going nearly nine minutes without a bucket and making just one field goal in 15 tries the rest of the half – a three by Jarrid Rhodes at the 1:45 mark. Meanwhile, UNI put together runs of 10-0 and 11-0 to lead by as many as 15 and went into the intermission with a 39-25 advantage.
 
The 2018MVC Tournament [archmadness.com] (March 1-4) gets underway Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Missouri State’s seed for the event will be determined by the remainder of Saturday afternoon’s games, primarily the
Indiana State at Bradley contest which tipped at 3 p.m.
 
Courtesy of Missouri State Athletic Communications.
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