Haldeman’s late 3 helps Northern Iowa hold off Valparaiso
Haldeman’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds left gave the Panthers a 62-56 lead. Tevonn Walker answered with a 3 for Valparaiso to close to 62-59. Haldeman then made two free throws and Bennett Koch finished the scoring with four straight free throws.
Koch was 8 of 8 from the floor, while making 9 of 14 free-throw attempts to total 25 points, which gave him 1,000 points for his career with Northern Iowa (14-15, 6-11 Missouri Valley Conference). Haldeman and Klint Carlson added 11 points apiece.
The Panthers led throughout the second half but could never break free as the Crusaders remained within striking distance. They closed to 59-56 with 2:01 remaining after Markus Golder drilled a 3 and Walker followed with a layup.
Bakari Evelyn had 19 points to lead Valparaiso (14-16, 5-12), which is in last place in the conference.
Northern Iowa will play in an opening-round game at the MVC tournament for the first time since 2003. The bottom four seeds (7th to 10th place) will play on March 1 to open the tournament in St. Louis. The highest seed UNI can achieve is No. 8.