Tucker Scores 22 As Panthers Roll Past Vikings
Jan. 20, 2005
MILWAUKEE - Joah Tucker scored 22 points to lead a balanced attack as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claimed an 85-65 win over Cleveland State Thursday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
The Panthers led 45-27 at halftime and were never threatened in the second half.
UWM (13-4, 7-1 Horizon) has now won six-straight games and, with losses by UW-Green Bay and Detroit, is alone in first place in the Horizon League.
Raheem Moss scored 12 points to lead the Vikings (4-10, 1-5), who shot just 33.9 percent from the field. UWM limited Omari Westley, the Horizon League's second-leading scorer, to just nine points while forcing him into five turnovers.
"This was a track meet a little bit and it was a fun game from the standpoint that Cleveland State is the only team in the league, like ourselves, that is committed to up-tempo basketball," UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. "They really push it up the floor and they have a lot of athleticism and so it was pretty up-tempo. I just thought we took care of the ball a little better and we were a little more patient."
UWM's lead hit double figures for the first time on a Tucker jumper that made it 20-9 with 12:21 remaining. Cleveland State pulled back within nine but would never be that close again. A layin by James Wright made it 27-13 and a Tucker jumper pushed the advantage to 35-18. A three by Tucker made it 40-22 and a Mark Pancratz layin gave the Panthers a 42-22 edge.
The Vikings did trim the lead to 45-31 early in the second half, but the Panthers responded with an 18-8 run to build a 24-point edge and then emptied the bench from there. All 15 played dressed for the Panthers played, with 11 players breaking into the scoring column.
"Tonight we saw a superior performance by a superior basketball team, probably the finest in the Horizon League," Cleveland State head coach Mike Garland said. "We've played everyone with the exception of Detroit. In terms of talent and aggressiveness, I think UWM is the toughest team."
The Panthers now face a tough contest Saturday at Detroit before also going to Green Bay and Wright State over the next 12 days. After playing five of eight at home during the first half of league play, UWM faces five of eight on the road in the second half of the league slate.
"The second half will be tougher," Pearl said. "We have five games on the road and three games at home. Stay tuned."
Saturday's contest at Detroit tips off at 1 p.m. CST.