(Chris Pobst, Staff)
It's being referred to as 'Tucker Time.'
Tucker dominated during the last frame on Friday night sealing a 57-48 victory over the Sikeston Bulldogs.
"They've got a Division I player who handles himself very well," Sikeston head coach Gregg Holifield said. "He's a great player. He may even be better than where he's going, in my opinion."
The Northern Colorado signee was on a mission heading into the fourth as Charleston clung to a 40-35 advantage.
As Sikeston inched closer to the Bluejays' lead, every time he touched the ball Tucker had his mind made up that he was driving to the basket.
He created contact and was sent to the free throw line -- a place where he is just as deadly.
"I decided to stop settling for jump shots so much and start attacking the rim," Tucker said. "It paid off. I started getting to the free throw line and then I got going."
Tucker hit all eight of his free throws and scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
"Bottom line, he took over the game and was outstanding," Holifield said about Tucker.
"We wanted his hands on the ball," Charleston head coach Danny Farmer said about Tucker. "Him shooting free throws in crunch time, he shoots at about 80 or 90 percent. If he gets fouled he can put them in."
The closest Sikeston came to tying the game was when Sikeston senior Terry Jamison closed the gap to 46-44 with 4:12 left to go.
Knowing that it was his time to close the book on the Bulldogs, Tucker never seemed to get rattled. He stood poised as the pressures of playing in a packed Field House bared directly on him.
"I'm definitely comfortable doing that," Tucker said. "I've been doing it for the last two years. I'm comfortable coming through in the fourth quarter."
Tucker hit two more free throws and picked off a pass that ended with the guard slamming it home to give his Bluejays a commanding 50-44 lead with just over two minutes to play.
"In the critical, crucial times when other kids can't score he can put them in," Farmer said about Tucker. "He can take it to another level."
What was even more impressive about his stellar fourth quarter is how poorly he played overall. Tucker didn't score a basket until the second half and was held to 4 of 11 shooting (36 percent) from the field.
"Defensively, we did just what we wanted to do," Holifield said. "We tried to contain him and we gave up a couple of open shots, but we got on the boards and I thought we did some good things there."
The usually sure handed senior committed five turnovers and couldn't seem to get into any rhythm offensively -- mostly in part to the defensive battle it was between both schools.
"I kind of struggled from the get-go," Tucker said. "I couldn't really get going from the outside and I even missed a few layups."
"He didn't play well at all," added Farmer. "But, we played great defense. That was probably our third game where we've played great defense and it paid off."
Although Tucker, who routinely leads the Bluejays in scoring on a nightly basis, wasn't on point offensively, he was called upon to do things not many probably saw.
Farmer chose to put Tucker down on the blocks because he felt the Bluejays were getting beat on the glass. Tucker ended up tying for a team lead with six rebounds on the night.
"We needed some rebounding and he rebounds well too," said Farmer. "Tucker can do anything. He's the real deal."
Tucker's fourth quarter performance was one that will probably stick with him for a long time. It's the second time he and the Bluejays came into the Field House and took a win away from the Sikeston Bulldogs -- a rare treat for any team to do on the Bulldogs home court once. Much less, twice in the same season.
"It's definitely real big," Tucker said. "Since I've been here, we haven't beat Sikeston. To beat them twice at their home is really big for us."