Friday, February 12, 2010

MBB: Decade Of The 2000's - Best Individual Performances

For the latest entry in our look back at the best moments of the 2000’s in UWM men’s basketball, I thought I would compile a list of the best individual offensive performances. One of the best of all came here in Dayton – where we just left from for the trip to Detroit.

In many ways, I guess this entry could be considered just a list of scoring tallies. But, if nothing else, hopefully this reminds you about some of the best of the best from the last 10 years.

I thought I would break it down by player, and there are really five players that have multiple entries in my book.

I’ll start with Clay Tucker since I already referenced his best earlier. There are actually two that stick out in my mind – both from the 2002-03 season. He dropped 40 on Wright State at the end of that year, and that led the Wright State fans to accuse UWM of running up the score. But it felt like Clay could have scored even more that night, and the Panthers put a big-time pounding on the Raiders. But, Tucker also helped the Panthers to a win at Loyola earlier this season while scoring 36 points. So, that is two efforts of 35 or more points on the road – definitely a big accomplishment.

Because Dylan Page was an inside player, you figure it should be a little harder for him to consistently post 30-plus-point nights because someone has to get him the ball. But the Panthers got him the ball a lot, and he converted consistently. Dylan loved playing against the teams from Chicago, it seems. I really remember his 32-point effort against Loyola in a home win in 2002-03. It happened in December and was his coming-out party in the Horizon League. Not to be outdone, he dropped 35 at Loyola the next season. And, he scored 31 in a loss at UIC.

No one played bigger in the magical postseason run of 2004-05 than Joah Tucker. He scored 31 for the Panthers in the league tournament semifinal win over Loyola, making 13-of-14 free throws in the contest. Then, against eventual national runner-up Illinois, Tucker dropped 32 in making 12-of-18 from the field. Considering the opponent and the stage, you might have to rank that one as the best individual performance in the last decade. I don’t know that Illinois would disagree.

In sheer volume, I can’t look past Avery Smith on this list. I mean, in spite of the ups and downs of his career, he was certainly one of the best scorers in the past decade. During that long 2006-07 season, UWM looked at him to score all the time. He did do that, though unfortunately his best efforts all came in losses. But, in dropping 36 at Oakland (eight 3’s), 33 at Drake and 32 at Detroit, he put together an impressive list of big-scoring nights in 2006-07.

Finally, I throw a few Boo Davis performances in now because Boo gradually became UWM’s most explosive offensive performer as his career developed. His most memorable, certainly, was the 26-point night he had against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. But, he also scored 31 in a home loss to UIC that year, doing everything he could to try to help the Panthers overcome the loss of AT.

A few others have to make the list on an individual basis …
Ronnie Jones’ 33 points at Youngstown State was quite a site to behold. He made 10 three-pointers in the first game YSU ever played in the Horizon League. My biggest memory of that, though, was that there was no TV footage of it, so we had TV stations at Klotsche when we got home wanting Ronnie to “re-enact” it.

Ed McCants might have been UWM’s most explosive scorer, and when he got hot from three-point range he could put up points quickly. But his best individual effort actually came in one of the Panthers’ most disappointing losses – the home defeat at the hands of Detroit in the 2004-05 season. Ed made nine 3’s and scored 37 but the Panthers still fell.

And let’s not forget the fact that Adrian Tigert scored 27 points against eventual national champion Florida in 2006. Most of those guys are playing in the league right now, so I don’t think we can at least consider this effort as the most underrated great night in school history. Nothing like having your career-high in the final game of your collegiate career against Joakim Noah and Al Horford.