Bears and No. 25 Panthers Locked in Showdown at JQH Arena
The Missouri State Bears and visiting Northern Iowa are engaged in a back-and-forth battle at JQH Arena with the No. 25 Panthers holding a narrow 26-24 advantage at the intermission.
After UNI scored the game's first basket on a jumper by Kwadzo Ahelegbe, the Bears tallied 13 of the game's next 17 points to hold a 13-6 lead on a dunk by Isaiah Rhine at the 12:12 mark.
Missouri State rallied to lead 19-15 with just 7:42 to go in the first period on a jumper by Kyle Weems, and then UNI started chipping away. A three-pointer by Jake Koch 36 seconds later made it a one-point game, and then a pair of free throws by Lucas ORear gave the Panthers their first lead since the opening minute, 20-19 with 6:16 to go.
Northern Iowa managed justed two field goals the rest of the half, but finished 7-for-9 at the charity stripe as MSU was called for nine personal fouls. UNI was also 9-for-20 (.450) from the field and 1-of-8 (.125) from beyond the arc.
Nafis Ricks and Will Creekmore hit key buckets for the Bears down the stretch to keep the lead within reach. MSU was 11-for-29 (.379) from the field and 1-for-3 at the free throw line. Adam Leonard has the team's only three-pointer.
Missouri State also owns a 16-15 rebounding advantage in the game.
Jermaine Mallett leads the Bears with 6 points, while Jordan Elgseder has scored 6 for UNI.