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Confident UWM knocks off Alabama

From wire reports

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is exploring new horizons after achieving the first major upset of the NCAA Tournament.

Its 83-73 win over Alabama at Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center, moved the Panthers into the second round, but set off no wild celebrations.

“We expected this,” UWM center Joah Tucker said. “It wasn’t a big surprise.”

Maybe not to him. But the Horizon League champs (25-5) sunk plenty of NCAA brackets because they sank 10 three-pointers in the first half and lead nearly wire-to-wire over the SEC’s Crimson Tide (24-8). The result proved once again that No. 5 seeds are remarkably vulnerable to No. 12 seeds.

“Sweet Home, Alabama,” better be Alabama’s favorite song, because that’s where that team is headed. A year ago, Alabama was an upset darling, advancing to the Elite Eight. This year the Crimson Tide ranked about eighth in Cleveland.

The only time Alabama led was 4-3, and with nine minutes to go in the first half the Panthers led by 17 points. Milwaukee led by 13 points at the intermission after making 10 of 16 shots from beyond the arc and never let the Crimson Tide get closer than five points in the second half after reversing style and pounding the ball inside to the agile, 6-foot-5-inch Tucker, who finished with 21 points.

Although Milwaukee was crushed 34-22 on the boards, the Panthers’ press forced 19 Alabama turnovers, a critical factor because the Tide shot 52 percent from the floor behind Kennedy Winston, Ronald Steele and Earnest Shelton.

“That’s what the press does,” Milwaukee star guard Ed McCants said of a 23-6 Panther first-half run.

Boston College 85, Pennsylvania 65: Jared Dudley had 18 points to pace the fourth-seeded Eagles (25-4) past the Quakers (20-9) at Cleveland.

Nevada 61, Texas 57: Kevinn Pinkney scored 15 points and the ninth-seeded Wolf Pack (25-6) rallied to beat the eighth-seeded Longhorns (20-11) at Indianapolis.

Arizona 66, Utah St. 53: Channing Frye scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and added 10 rebounds as the third-seeded Wildcats (28-6) downed the 14th-seeded Aggies (24-8) at Boise.

Illinois 67, Farleigh Dickinson 55: The Knights (20-13) briefly led in the first half but Dee Brown scored 19 points as the top-seeded Illini (33-1) defeated the 16th-seeded Knights (20-13) at Indianapolis.

UAB 82, LSU 68: Marvett McDonald had 21 points and hit five 3-pointers, and the 11th-seeded Blazers (22-10) used their stingy defense to pull off another upset, knocking off the Tigers (20-10) at Boise.

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