A 14-2 run by home standing Northern Iowa (13-11, 6-6) midway through the second half proved to be the difference as the Panthers held off Missouri State, 48-37, at McLeod Center.
After Christian Kirk gave MSU (7-17, 5-7) a 29-26 lead with 11:30 left in the game, UNI reeled off 14 of the game’s next 16 points over the next seven-and-a-half minutes. The Panthers’ advantage reached 40-31 on a three-pointer by Chip Rank with 4:19 to go.
Keith Pickens’ put-back at the four-minute mark kept the Bears within seven, but UNI ignited with another three-ball from Marc Sonnen — his only trey of the night — and a layup by Jake Koch to push the home club back ahead 47-35.
The Bears were led by Anthony Downing with 9 points as they were held to an all-time low point production in Valley play. Dorrian Williams and Christian Kirk added 8 points apiece. Downing and Drew Wilson added 7 rebounds to the MSU ledger as the visitors out-rebounded UNI, 35-31, including 12 offensive boards.
The Bears were 15-for-55 (.273) from the field, 3-for-21 (.143) from bonus distance and 4-for-4 in limited free throw opportunities. The Bears committed just 6 turnovers on the night.
The Bears now travel to Wichita State on Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff at Koch Arena against the Shockers (19-5, 8-4).