EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The University of Northern Iowa dropped a 54-51 overtime decision to the Evansville Purple Aces on Tuesday in the Ford Center.
UNI (11-11 overall, 4-6 MVC) had a 47-41 lead after a Marc Sonnen 3-pointer with 90 seconds left in the game. But Evansville (13-9, 6-4 MVC) got three-pointers from Colt Ryan and Ned Cox to tie the game and force overtime.
The Panthers had a chance to tie the Purple Aces in the closing seconds of overtime but Anthony James's three-pointer bounced off the room.
UNI trailed 23-19 at the half, but came out strong in the second half and took the lead with five quick points on a bucket from Jake Koch and a conventional three-point play from Seth Tuttle.
The game was tied 27-27 when the Panthers went on a 10-3 run to take a 37-30 lead. The run was capped by a 3-pointer from James with just under 15 minutes to play.
UNI pushed the margin to seven points and two occasions but could not stretch it any further. Sonnen scored to put UNI up 44-37 with just over three minutes to play in the game before the Purple Aces rallied to force overtime.
UNI was led in scoring by Sonnen's 11 points. Seth Tuttle contributed with nine points and a career-high eight assists. Koch grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Panthers. Austin Pehl tallied a season-high six rebounds off the bench.
Evansville was led by a game-high 23 points from Ryan. UE's Troy Taylor grabbed 12 rebounds and also added nine points.
UNI will play host to Wichita State on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the McLeod Center. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
NOTES: Sonnen buried 3-of-5 3-pointers to raise his season 3-point percentage to 49.1 percent ... Sonnen is 58.6 percent from 3-point land in MVC games (24-of-41) ... UNI shot 1-of-2 free throws, while Evansville was 5-of-12 at the charity stripe ... the rebounding battled was deadlocked at 39-39 ... UNI dropped to 1-2 on overtime games this season ... the Panthers have lost seven straight games in the state of Indiana ... UNI outscored Evansville in the paint, 30-16.