CEDAR FALLS -- Northern Iowa’s offense has been hot and cold three games into this basketball season. But the Panthers’ defense has kept its opposition on ice.
UNI locked down Cal State Bakersfield Wednesday night, 67-55, and strung together three consecutive wins over NCAA Division I opponents to start a season for the first time since 2014.
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Guards AJ Green and Spencer Haldeman each shot just 1 of 6 from distance in the opening half before leading an offense that hit 60.9 percent of its second-half shots. Haldeman finished with 15 points and Green added 14. Trae Berhow (14 points) carried UNI’s offense early and Isaiah Brown went 3-for-4 from deep as part of his 11-point game.
UNI led 24-22 at halftime before the Panthers’ struggling starting backcourt tandem provided separation for their team early in the second half. Haldeman’s corner 3-pointer was followed by a four-point play from Green, who knocked down another 3-pointer on a quick pull-up during the ensuing possession that pushed the Panthers’ lead to 41-29 with 15:34 remaining.
Bakersfield never managed to get closer than eight from that point forward. The Roadrunners attempted just eight free throws and finished 3 of 14 from 3-point range while shooting 44 percent from the field.