Tiby Terrorizes Northern Kentucky in Horizon League Tournament Win
Matt Tiby scored 10 points in a row to deny Northern Kentucky any chance at a comeback in helping the Milwaukee men's basketball team to an 86-59 victory Saturday afternoon in the Little Caesars Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship at Joe Louis Arena.
Tiby finished with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds and took over when the Panthers (20-12) needed him the most. The Norse (9-21), who trailed by as many as 22 early in the second half, had cut the lead to eight at 59-51 when Tiby put Milwaukee on his back.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Northern Kentucky," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "We knew they would come in pretty loose, pretty focused and pretty determined to play the spoiler. And, considering their last win was against us, they would also come in pretty confident."
The win gave UWM at least 20 victories for the fifth time under Jeter's watch.
After a hard foul, Tiby went 4-for-4 from the line on back-to-back possessions and followed that up with a pair of three-pointers, with his second triple – a step-back from the corner – extending the lead back to 14 points as Milwaukee secured its fifth consecutive postseason victory.
"It feels good. March. Man, I love it," Tiby said. "I am out here ready to play for my teammates. It was definitely fun. I got mad on that layup and it kind of flipped the switch for me and took it to another level."
Austin Arians had 18 points and Jordan Johnson was also in double figures, ending the afternoon with 14 points and eight assists. No starter played more than 27 minutes as the Panthers prepare for the possibility of four games in four days.
Brock Stull contributed heavily off the bench with 22 minutes on the court, netting nine points and handing out three assists.
Tyler White paced the Norse with 23 points.
The Panthers were clicking in the first, sinking half their shots on the way to a 44-28 lead. They methodically built their advantage, using six made 3's and a perfect 10-for-10 showing from the line. It was a terrific team effort finding the extra man, finishing with 12 assists on the 14 made field goals over the first 20 minutes.
"I was really pleased with our guys," Jeter said. "The preparation that we put into this game and to see some of the things that we wanted to take away from them early and see our guys execute those things was a big positive – I was very pleased with that."
It was a three-point shooting contest early, with the teams combining for nine of them over the course of the first 10 minutes. The lead went to 10 for the first time at 25-15 on a pair of Johnson free throws at the 8:43 mark. Tiby and Wichmann each had 11 in the period.
Milwaukee tried to put the gas pedal down early in the second and built the lead to 20 on a dunk by Panoske and eventually to 52-30 with 17:43 to play.
Just after that – as they did in the regular-season comeback win in Kentucky – the Norse went on a huge run, trimming a 57-38 deficit down to eight with a 13-2 spurt that opened the door for Tiby's heroics.
Milwaukee finished the contest at 54.9 percent (28-of-51) overall, its second-highest shooting percentage of the season. It also scored at least 80 points for the fourth time in the past five games. The Panthers had 21 assists compared to 10 for NKU and finished with 11 made 3's.
Up next, Sunday brings a rematch with Green Bay, which advanced in the first game of the day by defeating Cleveland State, 65-53. Each team claimed a win at home during the regular season, with the games being decided by a total of three points. Tip off time is set for 12 p.m. CST.