CANCUN, Mexico – 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.
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.
Northern Iowa faces Northwestern for the title.
Virginia Tech plays Miami (Ohio) for third place.