February 25, 2021
Milwaukee advances in the Horizon League Tournament
MILWAUKEE – Te’Jon Lucas led four players in double-figures and the Milwaukee men’s basketball team opened the 2021 Horizon League Tournament with an 84-72 victory over IUPUI Thursday night at the Klotsche Center.
The Panthers (9-11) used a huge scoring run at the end of the first half to take control against the Jaguars (8-10) and then sealed the victory over the final five minutes of regulation with a 12-of-14 showing from the free throw line.
“Great win to start off the conference tournament and we had a number of guys contribute, which was great,” head coach Pat Baldwin said. “It was great to close out the game from the line down the stretch; that was really huge for us to close out the win.”
Lucas scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half, adding five rebounds and five assists.
“Proud of our guys for the effort and energy that they put forth and now we are advancing to the next round and need to get ready for that,” Baldwin said.
DeAndre Gholston went for 20 points and added three steals, while Josh Thomas finished with 13 points and four rebounds. Amir Allen added his second consecutive double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Jaylen Minnett scored 23 points to lead IUPUI, which also got a huge effort of 20 points and 17 rebounds from Elyjah Goss.
Up 13 at the break after closing the first half on a 22-6 scoring run, Milwaukee stretched the lead out to its biggest at 17 at 55-38 on an Allen free throw. Things then tightened considerably, but MKE always had the answer.
IUPUI went on a 9-2 spurt to close the gap. When they cut it to seven at 59-52, Thomas hit a key jumper. It was down to six at 63-57 and Lucas responded with a tough layup but could not complete the three-point play, missing the free throw.
The lead was back to nine on a pair of Lucas free throws and then back to double-figures on a pair of charity stripe makes by Courtney Brown Jr. at 75-64 with 3:30 to play. IUPUI never had it back to single digits the rest of the way.
The first half closed with a brilliant stretch for the Panthers, scoring 22 of the final 28 points over the last eight minutes of the period while holding IUPUI to just one made field goal (they did make four free throws) in that span.
MKE was up early at 12-6, only to see the Jags push back. A Gholston 3 made it 19-14, but IUPUI would forge ahead at 20-19. Back and forth for a bit, the Jaguars were still up 28-25 before everything turned.
Ten of the game’s 12 points had Milwaukee ahead 35-30 on a pair of free throws by Donovan Newby. A Gholston dunk and Thomas layup in a span of about 10 seconds made it 42-32 and forced a timeout by the visitors. The run hit 19-4 before the Jags would find another score.
Milwaukee connected on 47.4 percent (27-of-57) of its field goals on the night, compared to 43.9 percent (25-of-57) for IUPUI. MKE also won the rebounding battle, 38-33, and committed just eight turnovers.
The postseason continues with a road game Tuesday, heading back to Ohio to battle second-seeded Wright State. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CST.
COURTESY MILWAUKEE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS