The UNI basketball team made a late charge, but came up short in their first Missouri Valley Conference home game last night, falling to Indiana State 65-61. The Panthers trailed the entire second half, but were able to make it a one-possession game in the final seconds before a turnover derailed their comeback bid.
The loss drops the Panthers to 0-2 in Valley play. UNI coach Ben Jacobson says his team’s effort was good enough for a victory. “It was close to where we need to be. I liked everything about tonight’s game, there’ll be some plays when I watch them I’m not going to like, but from a standpoint of giving ourselves a chance to win the game because of the effort we played with, it was where it needed to be,” he said.
Seth Tuttle led UNI with a double-double, leading all scorers with 24 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Jacobson says the sophomore’s play was a bright spot in the loss, saying he has made the decision he is going to play as hard as he can and whatever happens, happens.
As they have in several other losses, the Panthers had a long stretch where they were held without a field goal. Jacobson says they’ll work on simplifying the offense heading into Saturday’s trip to Illinois State. “That’s gonna help this team to make sure they have maybe a litte better understanding of what we are trying to get,” Jacobson says.
Despite being 0-2 in the league and with a tough road trip upcoming, Jacobson says he doesn’t think UNI’s record will have an impact on how the Panthers play going forward. “I feel like we changed the way we played over the last couple of days from Sunday to this game and now we need to go a little farther with it in terms of our energy level and some of the little things that have to be done to win,” Jacobson says.
Last night’s loss was UNI’s first on their home floor this season, and snapped an eleven-game home win streak that dated back to last winter.
By Jess Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls