Panthers Grind Out Win Over Hawai'i
Dec. 10, 2005
The Panthers (4-2) shot just 39 percent from the field but forced 20 Rainbow Warrior turnovers and limited Hawai'i to just 1-of-13 shooting from three-point range.
Tigert made 7-of-11 from the field and added six rebounds as the Panthers won their third-straight game.
Ahemt Gueye led Hawaii (3-2) with 19 points, while Julian Sensley added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The game, a rematch of last year's ESPN Bracket Buster contest in Honolulu, pitted two teams expected to battle for their league titles this season.
"It wasn't pretty but we got the job done. I thought the key was our defensive intensity," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "We really worked hard on the defensive end and maybe that took a little bit out of us on the offensive end. But these guys stayed committed to pressuring and getting Hawaii to run their offense from the sidelines and from out on the perimeter. I thought we did a solid job of that and then, with our turnovers down, I thought those were the keys to our victory."
The Panthers looked poised to run away with the game in the second half, building a 53-39 lead with 6:04 remaining on an Avery Smith steal and layin. But the Rainbow Warriors, who beat Michigan State by 22 points earlier in the year, had one more run in them.
They pulled within 55-49 with 3:31 left on a Sensley layin and then got within three at 55-52 on a jumper by Sensley with 55 seconds remaining. But, Chris Hill made 1-of-2 from the line and Boo Davis added a dunk off a steal from Jason McCoy to seal the victory.
Smith was a catalyst off the bench for the Panthers, collecting seven points, six rebounds and five steals. UWM outscored Hawai'i 17-2 off the bench.
"It's defensive intensity, something he brings every night," Jeter said of Smith. "I thought Avery did an unbelievable job of bringing a lift for us off the bench, creating some easy offense for himself by playing pressure defense. He's capable of doing that and he really climbed into those guys."
The two teams played to a stalemate much of the first half. The score was just 3-3 five minutes into the game and Hawai'i didn't reach double figures until 9:10 remained in the half. The Panthers used a nice burst to build a 26-17 lead with 1:28 remaining, but Hawaii scored the final four points of the half to pull within 26-21 at the break.
UWM returns to action Thursday night, playing in Madison against Wisconsin. The Badgers beat Marquette this afternoon for their second-straight win this season over a state rival.