For the third time in their last four games, the U.N.I. basketball team let a second half lead slip away in their loss to conference co-leader Wichita State at the McLeod Center last night. The Panthers led for much of the second half, but the Shockers closed the game on a 12-4 run to claim a 71-68 victory.
Wichita State switched to a zone defense late in the game, but Shockers coach Gregg Marshall says that was based more on necessity than strategy. He says for awhile they couldn’t guard the Panthers and couldn’t keep them off the foul line or out of the paint.
The Panthers fall to 3-5 in the conference with the loss. U.N.I. coach Ben Jacobson says he’s still happy with the way his team is playing, but they just aren’t getting the one or two plays to get over the hump. “We make two plays go our way in maybe all five of our leagues losses right now, make two plays go our way in the last 90 seconds and our record looks a lot different,” Jacobsen says.
Jacobson says if the Panthers continue to play hard, those difference-making plays will take care of themselves eventually. He says other than 15 minutes at Bradley, they have played good basketball and the key is to move on to the next game and “play your tail off” and things will start going your way.
U.N.I. forward Seth Tuttle went 6-6 from the field to lead the Panthers with 15 points. He says that coming so close to beating the top teams in the conference and missing is frustrating. “It’s encouraging to know that we’re right there, we are doing exactly what we need to do, we just need to finish at the end,” Tuttle said.
U.N.I. starts their second turn through the conference on Sunday when they host Drake. The Panthers beat the Bulldogs 83-68 in Des Moines two weeks ago.
By Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls