CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa men's basketball team used an 11-1 run to spark a comeback win over the Creighton Bluejays, 61-54.
The Panthers (15-11 overall, 8-6 MVC) trailed Creighton 48-43 with 5:25 left after an alley-oop dunk by Gregory Echenique. But the Panthers got a charge from senior forward Jake Koch and redshirt freshman Matt Bohannon to surge past the Bluejays.
Koch scored 13 of his 14 points in the final 4:38 of the game. In that stretch, Koch surpassed the 1,000 point mark in his career and became the 36th UNI Panther to join that exclusive club.
With the score tied 49-49, Koch created a steal that was ultimately corralled by senior guard Marc Sonnen. Sonnen then saw Bohannon flash open on the left wing and delivered a pass. Bohannon then sent the 6,970 fans in the McLeod Center into a frenzy by drilling a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a lead they would not relinquish.
Creighton's Doug McDermott made 1-of-2 free throws with 1:24 left to pull the Bluejays back to within three points at 54-51. But Koch answered again on a drive to the bucket with McDermott attempting to stop him. Koch prevailed on the drive and gave UNI a five-point lead with 1:02 left.
Koch would add five more made free throws in the final minute to secure a Panther victory, 61-54.
UNI has won four straight games and moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings.
UNI held McDermott to 15 total points (three in the second half). The Panthers limited the Bluejays to a season low 54 points as well.
NOTES: Head coach Ben Jacobson moved into a tied for third place on the UNI coaching wins list with Jim Berry ... Berry won 144 games from 1974-86 ... Jacobson improved his career coaching mark to 144-82 in the win over Creighton ... UNI has won four straight over Creighton in the McLeod Center ... UNI is 14-1 when it makes more free throws than the opponent ... UNI made 15-of-19 at the line vs. the Bluejays, while Creighton made just five of 14 at the charity stripe ... UNI is 14-2 when leading at the half ... UNI led Creighton at the half, 32-25 ... Sonnen moved up to No. 4 on the Panthers' all-time games played list with 129 ... Koch is tied for No. 5 on the games played list with 128 ... the announced crowd of 6,970 was the seventh largest crowd in the McLeod Center's history ... UNI improved to 12-2 at home this season ... UNI is 83-24 all-time in the McLeod Center ... UNI has made at least one 3-pointer in 419 straight games ... UNI has had 11 comeback victories this season.