MILWAUKEE (WITI)– Jordan Aaron scored 24 points and Matt Tiby added 16 points and 13 rebounds as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claimed a 77-66 win over James Madison Saturday on the second day of the NIU Invitational.
The Panthers (3-1) have won three in a row and captured their second win this season over a team that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
Milwaukee used a 14-5 run midway through the second half to build a nine-point lead and then calmly maintained the advantage over the final 10 minutes of the game.
Andrey Semenov had 20 points to lead James Madison (1-2), which had opened the tournament with a win over Northern Illinois.
The Panthers used just the right combination of perimeter shooting and inside play to beat the 3-2 zone offered up by James Madison. Milwaukee made 11 three-pointers, including five from Aaron, while the Panthers also got to the foul line 27 times and saw post players Tiby and Kyle Kelm combine for 30 points.
Plus, Austin Arians found his way underneath the zone for three layups during a key stretch of the second half, eventually finishing with 14 points.
“I don’t know if we’ve played 40 minutes of a clean basketball game yet, but yet we’re finding ways to manage through some of those lulls and be better,” Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. “When Austin started running that baseline and getting lost in behind and finished some of those inside, I thought that was the key to the game.”
Aaron, a preseason all-league selection, had his best outing of the young season. He scored 14 of Milwaukee’s first 22 points and then hit some big shots as the Panthers closed things out in the final 10 minutes.
“It was a great breakout game for him, because he has not really put those type of numbers up,” Jeter said. “We knew we were going to need that from either him or Austin, and tonight it was Jordy.”
Milwaukee started fast, scoring 11 of the first 15 points. The Panthers’ lead hit 22-13 on an Aaron steal and layin with 9:20 remaining and UWM was still up 28-21 on a Tiby layin with 5:30 left.
JMU settled in from there, forging a 29-all tie on a Semenov fadeaway with 3:30 left, and the two teams went into the locker room tied at 31.
It was 35-all after the first three minutes of the second half before the Panthers started to break away, scoring seven in a row for a 42-35 lead. The advantage hit 49-40 on a Kelm three-point play with 10:31 left and was still 59-50 after a Tiby three-point play with 7:40 remaining.
UWM’s advantage hit double digits for the first time at 65-55 when Kelm buried a three with 4:03 left, and free throws from Aaron and Kelm made it 75-62 with 1:26 remaining, allowing the Panthers to truly pull away.
Milwaukee wraps up its three games at the NIU Invitational by squaring off with the host Huskies at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
**Courtesy of UWM Athletic Department