Tucker’s double-double leads second-half surge for No. 9 Trailblazers - Athletics

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Tucker’s double-double leads second-half surge for No. 9 Trailblazers

VINCENNES, Ind. – The No. 9-ranked Vincennes University Trailblazers opened up the 2021 season at home against Dohn Prep of Cincinnati and came away with the 83-66 win.

This marks the first regular-season or postseason game the Blazers have played in over 10 months and early on the rust factor showed.

VU had to battle early with Dohn Prep, with the Blazers falling behind by as much as six points during the opening period of play, before battling back and a lay up by freshman Brandon Muntu helped give Vincennes the 36-34 lead at the break.

In the second half the game shifted more in Vincennes’ favor, after the Blazers opened up on an 11-2 scoring run.

“I don’t think we played very well,” Trailblazers’ Hall of Fame head coach Todd Franklin said. “We’re going to have to find a way to play well very quickly or we’re going to have a hard time winning ball games looking at what we have coming up.”

“Excuses won’t help us,” Franklin added. “Everything that happened tonight were things that we worked on extensively and if we just attempted to do them with the right intensity and the right focus we would have been much more successful.”

“You’re going to fail early in the year but there were times where I just didn’t think we were focusing on the things that we hammer on all the time. We weren’t really asked to do anything that we haven’t prepared for, which can happen, but that was wasn’t the case tonight and that’s disappointing.”

“Dohn had a nice team, they’re big, athletic and they gave us some problems,” Franklin said.

Blazer sophomore Randy Tucker and freshman Justin Archer helped lead the charge for VU in the second half, with Tucker scoring nine points and grabbing nine boards and Archer scoring all 16 of his points in the final 20 minutes of play.

Tucker would finish the night with a 14-point 12-rebound double-double to open the season. Along with Archer, sophomore John Ukomadu and Muntu would round out the Blazers scoring in double-figures with Ukomadu’s 12 points and Muntu’s 11.

“I think Archer could have had a big night, but he got into foul trouble in the first and missed a bunch of free throws,” Franklin said of his freshman big-man. “if those two things hadn’t been the case he probably would have had a big night. I think he’s going to be good for us and I think he’s going to be a lot better for us when we learn how to get the ball to him in the post. When we start doing a good job of playing team basketball, he’s going to get even better.”

“As the game went along I thought Randy got on the glass more, which is probably the best thing that he did and that was key,” Franklin added. “He kept plays alive, got some things done, which he needs to do out of the three spot because that’s part of our offense. I need to get him more locked in where he’s acting like a sophomore leader, tough, ‘I’m in tune to what’s going on’, he has to be that guy.

The Trailblazers will be back in action this Saturday as they host Highland (IL) CC Jan. 23 with tip-off slated for 7 p.m.

“We’re going to have to get after it,” Franklin said of the two days of practice VU has to prepare for Highland. “Because what was out there tonight, I’m assuming, is not going to win against Highland. If they are anywhere near the good basketball team that they are, then we’re going to have a hard time if we play like we did tonight.”

“I’ve probably been too nice,” Franklin said of his practices leading up to the season opener. “It’s probably that time where I’m going to have to lock it down here a little bit, in terms of bringing the intensity level and commitment level up. I’ve got to get where the guys on the floor are doing what I want as hard as I’m wanting them to do it.”

“This is not the time of year for me to be everyone’s buddy, that happens later, they all love me later. Right now is probably the time of year where they really don’t like me that much and I’ve probably been a little too likeable for a little while. So, they may not like me so much over the next couple of days.”

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