Northern Iowa’s balance sinks Virginia Tech 73-54

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) Matt Bohannon scored 13 points to lead a balanced attack and Northern Iowa defeated Virginia Tech 73-54 in the Riviera Division of the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday.

Seth Tuttle had 11 points and Marvin Singleton and Nate Buss had 10 apiece for the Panthers (5-0), who are off to their best start in 14 years. Four other players had at least seven points.

Joey van Zegeren had 15 points to lead Virginia Tech (2-2).

Buss and Bohannon scored 10 points apiece in the first half as Northern Iowa shot 60 percent to take a 40-31 lead. The Panthers made 6 of 11 3’s in their hot start and 10 of 11 free throws while the Hokies, who shot 50 percent from the field, attempted just one foul shot.

Bohannon’s 3-pointer 4 minutes into the second half started a 12-0 run that put the Panthers up 57-35. Singleton turned a put-back into a three-point play and added a layup during the surge. Wes Washpun capped the run with a layup and as soon as Malik Muller ended the drought for the Hokies with a 3-pointer, Washpun answered with a three-point play.

Northern Iowa hit 18 of 20 free throws and ended up at 50 percent from the field, making 24 of 48 shots. Virginia Tech was just 3 of 8 from the foul line.

The Panthers started quick, going up 9-2 as Deon Mitchell made two baskets, including a 3-pointer and a Buss 3 made it 22-12 at the 12:23 mark.

Bohannon hit a couple of 3’s to keep the lead to 10. Bennett Koch followed the second 3 with a jumper and then Wyatt Lohaus scored at 4:22 to make it 34-19.

TIP-INS

Northern Iowa: UNI returned all five starters and 10 letter winners from a year ago. … This is the third time at the Division I level Northern Iowa has started 5-0. The last time was in 2000. This is the ninth time overall the Panthers have been 5-0, dating back to a 9-0 start in 1922-23.

Virginia Tech: Freshman Justin Bibbs failed to reach double figures for the first time in his career, finishing with eight. … Will Johnston’s only basket was a 3 and of the 51 baskets the sophomore has scored in his career, 48 of them have been from behind the arc. … It was the first ever meeting between the two schools.

UP NEXT

Northern Iowa faces Northwestern for the title.

Virginia Tech plays Miami (Ohio) for third place.