CEDAR FALLS — Without the help of forward Nate Buss, Northern Iowa kept its hot shooting streak alive as the Panthers hit 60 percent from the field in the first half last night against Indiana State, including 18 points from junior guard Deon Mitchell.
But that didn’t matter.
The Panthers didn’t hit a field goal until the 15:33 mark to start the second half while ISU went on a 12-1 to erase an 11-point halftime deficit and tie the game at 46.
The Sycamores didn’t trail again in an 87-81 victory over UNI.
“We made a lot of transition offense in the first half,” UNI Coach Ben Jacobson said. “When we started missing shots to open the second half, that got them into the open floor. They made a lot of shots that took us out of our transition game.”
ISU guard Dawon Cummings led the second-half charge, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the final 20 minutes.
After hitting five 3-pointers in the first half, UNI shot just 3 of 12 from beyond the arc to finish the game — with two of those makes in the final 90 seconds.
After falling behind by as many as eight points in the second half, the Panthers battled their way back to a two-point deficit with 30 seconds left, but the Sycamores hit their free throws late to seal the win.
“We know we have a lot of fight in us,” UNI guard Wes Washpun said.
“No matter how much we got down, we just knew we were going to keep fighting until we got it as close as we could or take the lead back.”
Washpun had 18 points and six assists.
Mitchell led the Panthers with 21 points despite missing most of the second half with a knee injury.
“(Deon) had a great first half,” Jacobson said. “He had a great week. He put in a lot of time this week and he needs to continue to put in the time during the week. I’m certain that he will.”