Panthers oust Bears for sixth straight win

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Riding a second-half surge from Seth Tuttle, the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team claimed its sixth straight victory in a 69-63 win over Missouri State at JQH Arena Tuesday.

Tuttle scored 15 of his 19 points after halftime and also grabbed 12 rebounds, while Anthony James tallied 17 points and a career-best eight assists in Missouri Valley Conference play.

Jake Koch and Tuttle each scored on putbacks before Koch hit two free throws as the Panthers (17-11, 10-6) opened a 40-29 lead with 16:25 to play in the second half. The Bears pulled within 64-61 with 33 seconds left, though Northern Iowa made five of its last six free throws in the final 30 seconds to close it out and shot 19-of-23 at the line overall.

The Panthers shot just 6-for-22 (27.3 percent) from beyond the arc, but converted 22-of-48 field goals attempts (45.8 percent) and turned the ball over only five times. Matt Bohannon chipped in 11 points.

Missouri State (8-20, 6-10) grabbed an early 15-5 advantage, though the Panthers countered with a 14-2 run and led 30-27 at the break. Marcus Marshall led the Bears with a game-high 25 points and Christian Kirk had 12 points and six rebounds.

The Panthers host Denver in nonconference play at the McLeod Center Saturday at 7 p.m. The game is part of ESPN’s BracketBusters and will be shown live on ESPN3.