Originally Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2013, 11:37 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 19, 2013, 5:29 am

Moline snaps Big 6 losing skid at UT

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By Steve Tappa, stappa@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
UTHS's Evan Spurgetis goes even up with Moline's Tyler Biscontine as the pair go after a loose ball in the first half of play Friday night in the Panther Den. UTHS lead at the half.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Moline's Mitch Reeves gets heavy pressure from UTHS's Dalton Oakes while trying to get a shot off near the rim Friday evening in the first quarter of action in East Moline.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
UTHS's Raymond Terronez puts pressure on Moline's Brandon Vice during the second quarter of play Friday evening in the Panther Den. After Moline jumped out to a big lead, the Panthers came back to lead at the half.

Teammates call Tyler Biscontine "Biscuit.''

Friday night the Moline sophomore earned the title of super hero, too.

With a backdrop of comic-book costumes such as Superman, the Hulk and Captain America in the United Township student section, Biscontine blazed brightest by scoring a career-high 27 points in a 53-46 decision by the visiting Maroons.

The 10th grade guard hit 8-of-10 shots from the floor before knocking down a pair of free throws with 10.9 seconds remaining to hold off a UT comeback at the Panther Den.

The boys' basketball win was Moline's first in Western Big 6 Conference play in 11 months, and snapped an 0-4 start to league play this season.

"This was huge. This is a big confidence booster for our guys,'' said Biscontine, whose club hosts a Martin Luther King Tournament today and Monday. "Now we're just going to try and keep it going at the tournament and through the rest of the season.''

Behind Biscontine, Moline hit a sizzling 65-percent of its shots (15-of-23) to overcome a whopping 25 turnovers and some spotty free-throw shooting (17-for-28).

The Maroons (10-8, 1-4) missed eight free throws in the final nine minutes to allow United Township to nearly recover from a 10-point deficit in the final 3:30.

The Panthers (3-15, 1-4) were within three points when Biscontine went to the line.

A second straight down-to-the-wire win bucked Moline's season trend of blown leads late in losses.

"You never feel bad about a win,'' Moline coach Jeff Schimmel said. "Finally we found a way to hang on there at the end. If we make some free throws down the stretch, we have a little more room to breathe.

"But it's a big win just to get on the board. We didn't want to be that team that was 0-5 going to the second half of the conference race.''

Biscontine helped see to that, knocking down 6-of-8 shots from 3-point land.

Brandon Vice was especially adept at finding "Biscuit,'' with the big-man passing out of double teams for a game-high six assists. Vice also had a game-best 10 rebounds, though he was held to seven points on 3-for-4 shooting.

"Tyler played well (last Saturday) at Wheeling, so it was good to see him have another good night,'' Schimmel said. "That was big because they took away Brandon and Drew (Owens), so he needed to step up and hit some shots.''

Biscontine's first seven points led Moline to a 14-3 start through the initial nine minutes, but a 15-0 second-quarter run got the Panthers back in the game.

The contest was tied at 32 late in the third quarter, but UT followed by failing to score for almost six minutes.

The young Panthers hit just 14-of-47 shots, and were only 6-of-24 from 3-point land despite a 4-of-7 effort by reserve Keegan Wenskunas (12 points).

"I love the fight in our guys. Our effort has continually been there. We just have stretches where we have trouble scoring if we don't get points off our defense,'' said UT coach Marc Polite, whose club travels to Bettendorf tonight to play the unbeaten Mississippi Athletic Conference leaders."It's more of a mental block that we hit. We're decent when we're scoring in a flow, but when we get in the halfcourt, we have trouble getting any kind of rhythm going. We're just not able to gut out possessions yet. But we're going to keep fighting and plugging away.''