Lucas Leads Milwaukee to double overtime win over Oakland
MILWAUKEE (MILWAUKEE ATHLETICS) – Te'Jon Lucas capped "Senior Night" in perfect form, hitting the game-winner with 2.1 seconds left in double-overtime to send the Milwaukee men's basketball team to an 89-87 victory over Oakland Saturday evening at the Klotsche Center.
"This game was huge for our guys," head coach Pat Baldwin said. "Our seniors really stepped up and made big plays. In the first overtime, they [OU] were up six and we still found a way to battle back. It's a testament to our guys and to their hard work and sticking with it."
The Panthers (8-11, 7-10 Horizon League) trailed by 11 early in the game and by six points late in overtime, yet dug deep against the Golden Grizzlies (10-17, 10-10 Horizon League) to close out the regular season with a thrilling victory.
"Early on, we just couldn't find the bottom of the basket, but our guys continued to fight," Baldwin said. "To be down eight at half, that is a testament to our guys. It just came down to will at the end. They had the lead and we just continued to chip away."
Lucas ended the night with 21 points, adding a career-high 13 assists while also grabbing five rebounds. He hit the game-winner after driving down the left side of the lane, then swishing the turnaround jumper as time ticked down.
"The ball was in his hands and he made the right play," Baldwin said. "I thought he was going to kick it out, but he went to his patented fadeaway shot and made that. And when it hit the bottom of the net I was happy, but we obviously knew we needed to defend with the 2.1 seconds left at the end."
Lucas' 13 assists matched the third-most in a game in school history, and with zero turnovers, marked the most in a game with no miscues all-time.
Lucas was joined by fellow seniors Josh Thomas and Amir Allen, who both added big nights.
Thomas scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed five boards, coming up clutch down the stretch in regulation when he converted a 3-point play with 47.8 seconds left on the clock that put Milwaukee ahead at the time. He also came up big when the Panthers were down, 82-76, late in overtime, hitting a pair of free throws and a layup that cut the deficit to two.
Allen finished with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds, none bigger than the rebound that came with 3.2 seconds left in overtime, converting the putback to tie the score at 82-82 and force double-OT.
All five starters finished in double-figures, with Courtney Brown Jr. contributing a career-high 15 points. He was the key to the second-half surge, scoring 11 of those in the first 2:08 of the second period – to turn an eight-point deficit at the break into a 38-37 lead on his third three of that stretch. He added five rebounds and went 5-of-7 from the floor.
DeAndre Gholston added 14 points and seven rebounds to round out the list.
Daniel Oladapo paced OU with a double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Jalen Moore chipped in 14 points and added 15 assists.
The night had numerous twists and turns, with a forgettable start that saw MKE hit just one of its first 17 field goals and trail by as many as 11 at 20-9.
The second-half surge also grew to a lead of as many as seven the other way, coming on back-to-back 3's by Gholston that made it 50-43 at the time.
The lead went back-and-forth down the stretch too, with the contest eventually witnessing 10 ties and 15 lead changes.
Milwaukee finished the night at 40 percent (34-of-85) from the floor, connecting on 10 more 3's. Oakland was at 43.1 percent (31-of-72) and also won the rebounding battle, 52-43.
Up next, the Panthers will host IUPUI in the Horizon League Tournament on Thursday, February 25th, at 7pm.