Panthers send BC packing
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Joah Tucker scored 14 of his team-high 23
points in the second half as Wisconsin-Milwaukee continued its surprising NCAA
Tournament run with an 83-75 upset of Boston College in second-round action at
the Wolstein Center.
Ed McCants added 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-8 from three-
point distance, while Adrian Tigert hit all seven of his field goal attempts
for 16 points for the 12th-seeded Panthers (26-5), who will face top-seeded
Illinois on Thursday in the Chicago Regional semifinals.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee is the first No. 12 seed to reach the Sweet 16 since
fellow Horizon League member Butler did so in 2003.
“My time at the NCAA Tournament is something I treasure. We are honored to be
a part of it, grateful and very, very blessed,” Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach
Bruce Pearl said. “I think what you saw today was a basketball team with
some talented players, they play hard and tough.
“I don’t think we could have played any harder than we did and we feel
fortunate to be advancing to the Sweet 16,” Pearl concluded.
Following Thursday’s 83-73 opening-round victory over fifth-seeded Alabama,
the Panthers prevailed again Saturday by playing passionate, pass-deflecting
pressure defense, which created 22 BC turnovers — nine more than the Eagles’
Chris Hill, who had 11 points, iced the game with two late free throws.
Leading Boston College (25-5), which started the season 20-0 before going 5-5
down the stretch, was Craig Smith with 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting. Jared
Dudley netted 22 points to go along with eight boards and seven assists.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee led 72-71 with three minutes remaining in the game before
the teams traded baskets and free throws. Still leading by one point, the
Panthers forced yet another BC turnover, which led to a Tigert layup and a
78-75 edge with less than a minute remaining.
After a missed three-pointer by the Eagles, Hill was fouled and knocked down
two free throws to put the Panthers in front by five points, 80-75, with 28.5
seconds on the clock.
BC’s Sean Marshall would miss a pair of free throws with less than 20 seconds
left as the Panthers pulled off the upset.
“They had four people putting pressure on you,” Dudley said of the Panthers’
press. “Instead of a 1-2-2 or a 2-2-1, they were running a 1-2-1-1 and they
were able to trap and take away the ball reversal…We were only down four at
halftime, but they did a good job forcing turnovers.”
Wisconsin-Milwaukee started the second half with a four-point advantage and
held a 55-51 cushion more than 6 1/2 minutes into the period before Smith
netted back-to-back layups to give Boston College a one-point edge midway
through the final 20 minutes.
After the Panthers reclaimed and stretched their lead to seven points, BC
chipped at the deficit. Following a Smith layup, Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s
advantage had been trimmed to 72-69, setting up the exciting final three
Boston College opened the game on an 11-0 run, courtesy of 5-of-6 shooting
from the floor. But Wisconsin-Milwaukee responded with a 19-3 burst to move in
front 19-14 with less than 12 minutes remaining in the first half, which ended
with Wisconsin-Milwaukee on an 8-3 spurt to take a 41-37 edge into the locker
“It’s clear in the first half our ball-handling wasn’t what it needed to be
and that gave them a lift,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “It gave them a lot of
confidence in what they were doing.
“In the second half, we did a much better job handling the basketball. We tied
up the game and even went up a point. We didn’t execute as well as we needed
on the offensive or defensive end and obviously that’s very disappointing.”