PEORIA, ILL. — A season filled with promise seems to be derailing for the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team, which is now tasked with pulling itself out of an 0-2 hole in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Bradley scored on nine consecutive possessions and held a 40-20 second-half scoring advantage in a 72-53 win over the uninspired Panthers on Sunday afternoon in Peoria.

Isaiah Brown, who scored a career-high 17 points, finished with five 3-pointers for UNI, the fourth of which gave the Panthers a 39-34 lead with 16:54 remaining.

But things quickly got away from UNI, as a Koch Bar jumper on the ensuing possession kick-started a 22-3 run. At one point during the stretch, Bradley hit four consecutive 3s, three by Darrell Brown, who led all scorers with 24 points.

Sluggish perimeter defense has hounded the Panthers during a four-game losing streak. In that time, teams are shooting 62 percent from behind the 3-point line in the second half.

On Sunday, the Braves were 5 of 6 from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes, with most of the makes coming off easy looks in transition.

“Because of the way that we’re structured ... to give up open 3s in transition is either a lack of communication or a lack of effort,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson said.

Wyatt Lohaus was the only other UNI player to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Tywhon Pickford had a team-high eight rebounds, while Juwan McCloud finished with four assists.

Things don’t get easier for the Panthers, who travel to face preseason Valley favorite Missouri State on Thursday.

While panic isn’t setting in just yet, Jacobson acknowledges that he’s feeling a much greater sense of urgency following a disappointing start to MVC play.

“The sky doesn’t fall in my world,” he said. “That’s not the way that I’ve run our program and that’s not going to change now.

“We have to play harder for an entire 40 minutes. Our effort consistently, how hard we play consistently over the course of 40 minutes, we’ve got to be able to do that. The good news for us is we’ve obviously shown that we can.”

BENCHED: UNI spent much to the second half without the services of senior starters Klint Carlson and Bennett Koch, who both struggled mightily before being benched.Carlson, who didn’t so much as attempt a shot, sat for the final 11:32, while Koch, who had five points and three rebounds, was held out the final 10:17.

Jacobson said the reason for the benching was a simple one.

“Production. Lack thereof would be a better way of putting it,” he said.

Bradley 72, UNI 53

UNI Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Carlson 17 0-0 0-0 3 0 2 0

Kochy 18 2-3 1-2 3 1 1 5

Pickford 30 3-10 2-3 8 0 2 8

McCloud 30 0-3 0-0 1 4 0 0

Brown 33 6-13 0-0 5 1 4 17

Friedman 12 0-1 0-0 0 2 3 0

Rhodes 9 0-1 0-0 1 0 2 0

Haldeman 15 3-5 1-1 0 2 1 9

Lohaus 22 3-11 3-4 2 1 2 11

Phyfe 14 1-2 1-2 3 1 0 3

Team 1

Totals 200 18-49 8-12 27 12 17 53

Bradley Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Thomas 33 3-4 0-0 10 0 2 6

Bar 16 1-6 0-0 3 0 3 2

Brown 35 8-15 3-4 1 5 2 24

Lautier-Ogunleye 25 3-5 2-2 3 3 3 8

Kennell 31 3-9 6-6 7 1 1 14

Childs 13 3-5 2-2 4 0 3 9

van Bree 17 1-2 1-2 2 0 1 3

Stipanovich 6 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 3

Hodgson 24 0-1 3-4 2 5 3 3

Team 1

Totals 200 23-48 17-20 33 14 18 72

N. Iowa 33 20 — 53

Bradley 32 40 — 72

3-point goals—UNI 9-23 (Pickford 0-5, McCloud 0-1, Brown 5-8, Haldeman 2-4, Lohaus 2-5), Bradley 9-14 (Brown 5-8, Kennell 2-4, Childs 1-1, Stipanovich 1-1). Turnovers—UNI 13 (Carlson 3, McCloud 3, Brown 3), Bradley 9 (Brown 3). Blocks—UNI 0, Bradley 6 (van Bree 3). Steals—UNI 4 (Haldeman 2), Bradley 4 (Brown 2).

Officials—Janssen, Malham, Burdett Jr. Att.—5,684.

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Sports Reporter

Sports Writer at the Courier

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