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CEDAR FALLS — Searching for a spark, Wyatt Lohaus gave Northern Iowa’s basketball team a six-alarm fire Wednesday night inside the McLeod Center.

The Panthers’ junior reserve completed his best game of a career derailed for the better part of two seasons by injury. Lohaus connected on 6 of 9 3-point attempts and finished with 25 points to lead UNI past Bradley, 74-65.

“I felt pretty confident coming into this game, I’d say more confident than usual because of the last couple days of practice,” Lohaus said. “Early, I got two good looks that went in so that was definitely a big confidence boost. From then on, it was just my teammates finding me and feeling like I had the hot hand.”

Lohaus made his first five attempts from distance with his 3-pointers all coming at timely moments. He finished just two back of UNI’s single-game record eight shared by Paul Jesperson and Cam Johnson.

The junior drained back-to-back triples sandwiched around a Bennett Koch multi-pump fake post bucket as UNI went on an 8-0 go-ahead run midway through the second half and never trailed for the final 11:20.

Crediting fellow reserve guards Spencer Haldeman and Hunter Rhodes for getting downhill on Bradley’s defense, forcing help and finding him in rhythm, Lohaus was pleased to be part of UNI’s determined repose. The Braves scored on nine of their first 10 possessions to take a lead as large as six with 13:19 remaining.

“I was just in the moment, trying to be aggressive,” Lohaus said. “I know in previous games we’ve kind of struggled early in the second half when teams have made a run. To be able to battle back and fight through that I think says a lot about our team.”

UNI head coach Ben Jacobson echoed that sentiment.

“Bradley gets out to that lead and they’re playing really well,” Jacobson said. “Guys dug in, fought harder, made some plays and got it back tied. I thought the whole game we defended with more purpose and were more physical. We worked to get in front of guys and stay in front of guys instead of giving up ground.”

That physicality was evident throughout a game in which the two teams combined to shoot 65 free throws.

Klint Carlson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and Koch added 11 points and seven boards for a UNI team (12-13, 4-9 MVC) that held a 33-26 advantage on the glass.

Bradley (17-9, 7-6) was paced by Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye’s 19 points as he often sliced through the Panther defense, frequently getting to the rim in the opening half. Donte Thomas made 10 of 12 free throws and finished with 18 points for a Bradley team that went 25 of 29 from the stripe.

Darrell Brown was held to 4 of 13 shooting with no 3-pointers after torching UNI for five treys and 24 points during a 72-53 Braves victory in their first encounter on Dec. 31. Bradley finished 2 of 13 from distance.

“As that game went on tonight, we kept talking to the guys about you’ve got to work all the way through those drives and get yourself in front somehow,” Jacobson said. “It’s hard with Brown and (Lautier-Ogunleye) because they drive it so well. We’re working hard to not let Brown get into that jumpshot. We didn’t want him shooting the 3s he shot the first time we played them.”

UNI frequently earned its share of trips to the line. Hunter Rhodes made all nine of his free throw attempts as the Panthers were 26 of 36 from the stripe and reserves tallied 47 of the team's 74 points.

LUUUUKE ANSWERS THE CALL: With Austin Phyfe limited to just two minutes of action after missing the previous two practices with the flu, Jacobson started Koch and turned to sophomore forward Luke McDonnell as his first man off the bench.

McDonnell —who hadn’t appeared in more than two games or seen above two minutes of court time since Dec. 10 — gave UNI its initial leads of 6-4 and 8-6 with layups inside. He earned 15 minutes of run and Ted Friedman nine minutes, something Jacobson said was key to providing Koch and Carlson with rest on a day his entire second unit was stellar.

“He gave us a nice pop, and he did that last year when he was able to come in and do some things for us,” Jacobson said of McDonnell. “Especially here at home, I think that is a guy that the home crowd likes. His production and getting the crowd into it was important.”

UNI 74, Bradley 65

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

Chiles 19 1-2 0-2 4 0 2 5

Bar 21 1-4 0-0 2 0 2 2

Lautier-Ogunleye 30 6-7 7-7 4 0 4 19

Kennell 29 1-6 2-2 6 0 2 5

Hodgson 23 1-3 0-0 2 0 4 3

Thomas 28 4-7 10-12 3 2 4 18

Lundy 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Brown 34 4-13 4-4 3 2 2 12

van Bre 13 1-3 2-2 0 0 1 4

Team 2

Totals 200 19-45 25-29 26 4 24 65

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

Carlson 31 5-10 1-3 9 2 4 12

Pickford 15 1-5 2-3 3 1 0 4

McCloud 12 0-3 0-0 1 0 2 0

Brown 17 0-1 0-0 2 1 0 0

Koch 21 4-6 3-4 7 0 2 11

Friedman 9 0-1 0-0 2 0 3 0

Rhodes 28 0-2 9-9 2 3 4 9

Haldeman 25 1-4 6-11 0 1 2 9

Lohaus 25 7-11 5-6 4 1 3 25

McDonnell 15 2-2 0-0 2 1 3 4

Phyfe 2 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0

Team 1

Totals 200 20-46 26-36 33 10 24 74

Bradley 30 35 — 65

N. Iowa 32 42 — 74

3-point goals—Bradley 2-13 (Childs 0-1, Lautier-Ogunleye 0-1, Kennell 1-4, Hodgson 1-2, Thomas 0-1, Brown 0-3, van Bree 0-1), UNI 8-21 (Carlson 1-4, Pickford 0-2, McCloud 0-1, Brown 0-1, Rhodes 0-1, Haldeman 1-3, Lohaus 6-9). Blocks—Bradley 5 (Thomas 2), UNI 2 (Brown, McDonnell). Turnovers—Bradley 9 (Brown 3), UNI 11 (three at 2). Steals—Bradley 5 (Childs 2), UNI 6 (Carlson 2).

Officials—Janssen, Ferrie, O’Neill. Att.—3,794.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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