Panthers Hand Southern Illinois First Road Loss
Sophomore center Bennett Koch posted a career-high 22 points and 11 rebounds in leading the UNI Panthers to a 67-58 victory over Southern Illinois at the McLeod Center on Sunday (Jan. 31, 2016).
The Panthers (12-11 overall, 4-6 MVC) overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to hand SIU its first road loss of the season. The Salukis (18-5 overall, 7-3 MVC) came into the game 8-0 on the road. They've now lost lost 13 consecutive games in Cedar Falls and are 0-10 at the McLeod Center.
UNI has its first two-game winning streak since Nov. 30.
Koch made 8-of-9 field goals and swatted three shots. He scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, draining all six of his field goal attempts in the final 20 minutes.
Southern Illinois led 23-12 following a Sean O'Brien bucket in the paint with 6:27 left in the first half. The Panthers responded with a 15-2 run to take a 27-25 lead with 1:18 remaining until intermission. The squads would head to halftime knotted at 29-29.
SIU's Bola Olaniyan sank a pair of free throws to begin the second-half scoring with 19:15 left in the game. UNI answered with a 7-0 run and would not relinquish the lead.
Southern Illinois' Anthony Beane Jr. hit a jumper with 11:24 left to pull within two at 46-44, but a 12-2 spurt by UNI pushed the margin to 12 at 58-46. The final two points of the run came via a technical foul on the SIU bench and Matt Bohannon drained both free throws with 6:09 remaining.
Beane led the Salukis with 16 points - half of the total that he got at SIU Arena against the Panthers on Jan. 2.
UNI senior Wes Washpun added 16 points, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Bohannon scored 12 points and was 6-of-6 at the foul line.
UP NEXT: The Panthers will remain home for their next game on against the Evansville Purple Aces. Tip is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the McLeod Center.