Gulley Scores 24 In Return But Panthers Come Up Short At UNI
Dec. 1, 2012
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Nate Buss scored 17 points off the bench and Northern Iowa made better than 60 percent of its shots in the second half in claiming a 72-61 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday night at the McLeod Center.
Northern Iowa (4-3) posted a decisive 15-5 run to overcome a 41-36 Milwaukee lead before hanging on for the win.
Making his first appearance of the season, Paris Gulley scored 24 points to lead Milwaukee (2-5). The senior guard has been sidelined for the last month by a broken hand.
The decisive stretch of the game came after Milwaukee claimed a five-point lead on an Austin Arians three with 15 minutes remaining in the game. Northern Iowa quickly tied the game at 41 and took the lead for good on a pair of Anthony James free throws with just over 12 minutes left.
UNI then got the lead to eight on a three-point play by Jake Koch with nine minutes left and went up double-digits for the first time on a Matt Morrison fade-away basket with just under seven minutes remaining. Milwaukee would pull back to within six points a handful of times from there but could never get over the hump.
"This was a better performance than last week but we're not satisfied," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "We made some strides in some areas. We took care of the ball, and it was good to see Paris back on the court. It's a tough place to play here at Northern Iowa and I thought we battled, but again just a few things that I'm a little disappointed in. It's a work in progress as I've been saying with this team, but we made some strides in a positive way tonight."
Gulley's return is certainly a key for the Panthers moving forward. The senior guard has missed the first six games after starting 29 games and averaging better than eight points per game a season ago.
"He really added a lot of positive energy - not just positive play but a lot of positive energy," Jeter said. "Once we get him more involved and play with him a little bit more we can get back to how we were right before he got hurt. We'll get used to getting better spacing, and we'll have some other guys watching Paris do things the correct way and they can learn from him."
Northern Iowa carried a three-point lead into halftime after a well-played first half. UNI built an early 11-6 lead by Milwaukee took a 14-13 lead on an Aaron hoop with 8:36 left. The Panthers then went up 22-20 on a Gulley three with six minutes left and 25-22 when Thierno Niang knocked in a three with 4:38 remaining.
UNI responded to that basket by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to claim a 32-27 advantage, but Gulley answered with a driving hoop to make it 32-29.
The Panthers surged back ahead early in the second half, going ahead 41-36 on the three by Arians before UNI answered with its decisive run. Milwaukee did cut the deficit to 63-57 on a Kelm layin with four minutes left and had some additional opportunities in the final minutes to get closer but could never make a final push.
Milwaukee finally returns home next week, hosting Buffalo Wednesday and Northern Illinois Friday. Both games tip off at 7 p.m. at the Klotsche Center.