The No. 12-seeded Panthers extended their winning streak to 11 games with an 83-73 victory against No. 5-seeded Alabama in the first round. It was their 19th win in 20 games.
But Boston College wasn’t impressed. The No. 4-seeded Eagles scored the second-round game’s first 11 points against Milwaukee on 5-for-6 shooting forcing the Panthers to call a timeout.
Before play resumed, BC dished out some trash talk. “I don’t give a (hoot) if you beat Alabama,” Sean Marshall told Milwaukee’s Ed McCants. “This is the Big East.”
Well then, enough said.
Milwaukee responded with an 83-75 upset to reach the Sweet 16, the sports moment judged the greatest in school history.
Joah Tucker scored 23 points, McCants added 18 and Adrian Tigert 16 as the 12th-seeded Panthers sprung their second NCAA Tournament upset in three days.
Tucker and McCants both scored 21 points apiece against Alabama as Milwaukee won its first NCAA Tournament game on its second try.
The victories launched Milwaukee into the national spotlight.
“We’re going to the Sweet 16,” Tucker said. “We’ve got a name to put on this win.”
It turned out that Boston College couldn’t handle the pressure. Milwaukee forced 22 turnovers with a relentless, full-court press, including a pass that was thrown away with 1:21 remaining and BC down 76-75.
The Panthers outscored Boston College 9-0 in the final 1:32. The Eagles, Big East regular-season champions who started the season 20-0, failed to advance past the second round for the sixth consecutive time.
“It was an upset,” BC guard Jared Dudley said. “We were the higher seed and felt we had an advantage. But obviously, they wanted it more.”
The Panthers also had something to prove after winning the Horizon League Tournament on its homecourt in a 59-58 nail-biter against Detroit. They accepted Marshall’s “This is the Big East” putdown as a verbal challenge.
“That definitely fired me up,” McCants said. “We were trying to match their intensity. We know they come from what people say is a really physical conference, and we come from the Horizon League.”
On the cover and above: Milwaukee’s Ed McCants and James Wright celebrate during the Panthers’ 83-73 victory against Boston College Eagles in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Championship on March 19, 2005 at The Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The Panthers won 83-75. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Middle Tennessee and Milwaukee
• Tuesday: Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State
• Wednesday: Missouri-Kansas City and Morehead State
• Thursday: Murray State and Navy
• Friday: Nebraska Omaha and New Hampshire