UNI takes advantage of turnovers, eliminates UIC

CEDAR FALLS – The Northern Iowa men’s basketball team took advantage of nearly every mistake made by Illinois-Chicago on Saturday night.

The Flames turned it over 21 times against the Panthers and UNI turned the miscues into 22 points during their 63-51 win in second-round action at the CollegeInsider.com tournament at the McLeod Center.

The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team will play host to the Bradley Braves in the quarterfinals. UNI and Bradley will meet at 7 p.m. in the McLeod Center.

Anthony James led three UNI players in double-figures with 17 points, while Seth Tuttle added 15 points and five rebounds and Jake Koch finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Northern Iowa turned it over just nine times and won despite getting out-rebounded 34-29 and making just 37 percent of its shots.

Northern Iowa trailed 41-38 with 8:42 to play in the game but used a 12-0 run to pull away. In the game’s decisive run, James and Marc Sonnen came through with some big 3-pointers.

Illinois-Chicago cut its deficit to five two different times but a 3-pointer from Chip Rank provided enough cushion for the Panthers, who also took advantage of some late free throws and a Flames technical foul to extend its lead back to 10.

Josh Crittle scored 12 points and nine rebounds to lead the Flames, who ended their season at 18-16. Daniel Barnes also reached double-figures with 10 points and six boards.

Northern Iowa (20-14) has now hit the 20-win plateau for the fifth straight season.

Sonnen scored five points in the game and made just one 3-pointer but has connected on at least one trey in 21 straight games. His 197 triples are second most in Northern Iowa history and is just six off the school record set by Ben Jacobson.

The Panthers scored a pair of wins over Bradley this season. UNI tallied an 85-55 win over Bradley on Jan. 12 in the McLeod Center. The Panthers then scored a 68-65 win over the Braves in Peoria, Ill., on Feb. 10.