UNI Basketball’s Season Comes to an End in Second Round of NIT
Sometimes, the ball just goes in for the other guy. Last night, the other guy just happened to be BYU.
The UNI Panthers had their season come to a close in the second round of the NIT on Saturday night, falling to the Cougars, 90-71.
In the first half, both teams scored at will, as UNI shot 14-27 from the field and 7-14 from three. Noah Carter had 15, Trae Berhow added 10, and AJ Green put up eight points over the first 20 minutes.
BYU countered by going 19-35 from the field and 9-18 from deep. The Cougars held the lead going into the second, 47-42, but nothing was out of reach.
"(We had a) great start tonight," head coach Ben Jacobson said after the game "Part of that was that we got some stops in the first ten minutes."
The momentum started to shift in the latter ten minutes of the first half behind the effort of Gideon George and Caleb Lohner for BYU. Going into tonight's contest, George was averaging 8.6 points per game and one three. Lohner was putting up 6.9 points per contest and had made ten three-pointers all season. They combined for 26 points and went 6-9 from deep in the first half.
"That put us in a tougher spot," added Jacobson. "They were quick to catch and shoot -- (George) in particular. ... I'm sure they knew coming in that we were going to defend the ball screen a certain way and that they were going to have some chances. So, give them credit."
The second half was when things got ugly.
BYU outscored UNI 43-29, shooting 50% from the field to UNI's 38.7%.
"Once they stretched that lead to eight or ten in the second half -- they're experienced, they're good, they're well-coached, and they're at home," said Coach Jake. "It was tough to get back."
Carter finished the night leading UNI in scoring with 24 points and added five rebounds. Green's final tally was 16 along with five assists.
George led the Cougars with 27 points, and Travis Knell finished with 15 -- all coming from the three-point line.
Despite the loss, Jacobson remains proud of his team and all they accomplished. After starting the season 4-7, the Panthers rallied back and finished 20-12, including going 13-4 in conference play and winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title.
"We won the regular-season championship because of who these guys are," Jacobson said. "The trust, the confidence, the relationship piece, the comradery -- that's why we won."
With the conclusion of the 2021-2022 season, Berhow and Tywhon Pickford's careers as Panthers officially came to an end. Berhow tallied 1,239 points in his tenure with UNI finishing tied for 17th on the all-time scoring list. He made 223 three-pointers, placing him third all-time in the category. Pickford finished with 791 points placing him tied for 70th on the all-time scoring list.
Austin Phyfe and Green's futures remain up in the air. Phyfe, who dealt with the effects of long-haul COVID this year will see a specialist in the offseason to help him determine whether or not he should return. Green may leave the program in order to pursue a professional basketball career -- he will go through the NBA Draft process, and that will likely aid in his decision to return or make the leap to the professional ranks.