The UNI Panthers season came to an end on Sunday, falling to the Braves of Bradley University 57-54 in the MVC Championship game.
The Panthers started fast in the opening half, going out to a quick 14-2 lead in the first six minutes. The Braves went on a 9-0 run to close the gap to three but the Panthers poured it on again, making five first-half three-pointers to enter halftime with a 27-15 lead.
After the Braves scored the opening basket A.J. Green got the Panthers going on an 11-0 run knocking down four of their first six shots. Green finished with 10 first-half points going 3-8 from the field and 2-3 from beyond the arc. Panther big man Justin Dahl hauled in five first-half rebounds and recorded two steals and a block.
The Panthers started the second half on a 5-0 run to go ahead 32-17 but then the Braves started to come alive. The Braves went on a 10-0 run to get within four with 10 minutes remaining in the half. AJ Green and Wyatt Lohaus made big shots down the stretch to keep the Panthers ahead but the Braves answered and tied the game with 1:58 remaining.
Fouls by Green and Luke McDonnell put the Braves at the line for four shots, making all four the Braves took a 53-50 lead Green made a jumper with 43 seconds remaining to get the Panthers within one but a Panther foul put Bradley’s Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye at the free throw line for two shots. Wyatt Lohaus put up a last-second shot at the horn but it did not fall.
Green ended with a team-high 23 points, going 8-20 from the field, 3-6 from beyond the three-point arc, and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line, three rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Trae Berhow ended with nine points, making three three-pointers and recorded one steal. Luke McDonnell finished 4-6 from the field for eight points in the finals. The junior forward hauled in five rebounds and recorded one assist, one steal and one block. Fellow big man Justin Dahl grabbed four offensive rebounds and seven total rebounds while recording a team-high two steals.
The Panthers end the season with a 16-18 record and move to 5-2 in MVC Championship games. Green’s 23 points marked the third straight game a Panther player scored 20 or more points after Wyatt Lohaus scored 21 against the Salukis and 27 against the Bulldogs.
With great performances all tournament long senior Wyatt Lohaus and freshman Green earned spots on the MVC All-Tournament Team. Wyatt Lohaus finished with 54 points with his two 20 point performances against Southern Illinois and Drake. Lohaus finished with 27 against Drake and scored the game winner with two seconds on the clock.
Green’s 23 points in the finals was enough to put him on the team. The freshman guard finished with 37 points, and recorded 11 assists in the tournament.