SPRINGFIELD – Missouri State posted a season-low point total and matched a season low in field goal percentage here Wednesday, falling 63-43 to a pesky Northern Iowa club that heated up with the game in the balance late in the second half.
The Panthers (13-15, 8-7 MVC) got a game-high 22 points from Wyatt Lohaus, including 15 points in the second half, to overcome a dismal first half themselves. UNI made 70 percent (14-of-20) of its second-half shot attempts to hand the Bears just their third home loss of the year.
Missouri State, which had won seven of its last eight Missouri Valley Conference games to claim a share of first place in the conference, made only 17-of-55 (.309) shots on the evening and converted just two of its 18 3-point attempts.
The Bears (15-13, 9-6 MVC) led by two in a defensive-minded first half but couldn’t get a foot hold in the second stanza. The Bears fell into a shooting rut in the final 20 minutes, while UNI made its hay from Lohaus’ buckets and 23 trips to the free throw line.
With 11 minutes to go in the game, the Panthers led 34-26, but Jared Ridder knocked down MSU’s first 3-pointer of the game to cut the Bears’ deficit to five. After a transition basket by UNI’s Isaiah Brown, Tulio Da Silva got into the act with a layup that made it 36-31.
Lohaus then knocked down another jumper for the visitors before Jarred Dixon scored a tough shot in traffic for the Bears to make it a 38-33 game with 8:36 to go. However, Missouri State was able to rack up just four more field goals down the stretch, while UNI began pulling away.
The Panthers got to the line 18 times in the final 4:58 and got two more baskets from Lohaus down the stretch to put things out of reach.
Lohaus finished 9-of-15 from the field to lead UNI, with Brown scoring 15 points in the win and freshman A.J. Green contributing 10.
Missouri State was led by Dixon’s 14 points, which pushed him into the program’s all-time top 15 in career scoring with 1,190 points. Da Silva added nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds, which matched his season high.
The Bears committed just 10 turnovers, while forcing a dozen Panther mishaps – eight off of MSU steals.
UNI finished 20-of-43 (.465) from the field, 3-of-9 (.333) from long distance and 20-of-29 (.690) at the foul line, while out-rebounding the Bears, 36-33.
In the first half, Missouri State overcame a 1-for-10 start from the field to take a 19-17 lead at the midway point of the game. The Bears ended the period on an 8-1 run over the last six minutes and held the Panthers to 0-for-9 shooting in that span.
With just three games left in the regular season, MSU hosts Indiana State on Saturday at 1 p.m. at JQH Arena. Tickets for the game against the Sycamores – and all remaining home games — are available now at MissouriStateBears.com or by visiting the Old Missouri Bank Box Office at JQH Arena, (417) 836-7678, during regular box office hours.
Saturday is also Springfield Cardinals day with special Cardinal discounts available.