UNI Wins Outright Valley Championship
A decade has passed since UNI last won an outright regular-season Missouri Valley Conference men's basketball championship. The drought ended Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers held Drake to its lowest point total of the season in a 70-43 victory at the Knapp Center in Des Moines. The arena was sold out for the first time in 11 years.
Four UNI players finished in double-digit scoring. Sophomore Austin Phyfe led the team with 17 points, while grabbing a career-high-matching 18 rebounds. A.J. Green and Isaiah Brown each recorded 15 points, and freshman Noah Carter finished with 11.
The Panthers opened the first half with a physical presence, scoring 24 points in the paint to take a 30-18 lead into halftime. Carter helped the Panthers extend their lead to 15 with 12:06 remaining in the game, scoring eight of his 11 points during a two-minute span of the second half.
UNI will now shift its focus to the MVC Tournament, which starts Thursday at the Enterprise Center in downtown St. Louis. As the top-seed, the Panthers receive a first-round bye. They'll play in the tournament quarterfinals Friday at noon, a game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Indiana and Fox Sports Kansas City (collectively, the MVC TV Network).