Panthers Bounce Back In Style, Claim Win At Oakland
Jan. 8, 2014
ROCHESTER, Mich. - Five Panthers scored in double figures and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee overcame a slow start to claim an impressive 84-75 win over Oakland University Wednesday night at the O'rena.
The Panthers (12-5, 2-1 Horizon) found themselves in an 11-0 hole after the first three minutes but eventually led by as many as 20 points in the second half before hanging on for the win.
Steve McWhorter sparked the Panthers in the first half with 15 points and wound up with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Matt Tiby and Kyle Kelm added 15 points apiece, with Tiby also contributing 10 rebounds. Plus, sophomore Austin Arians and freshman Cody Wichmann each added 13 points.
Milwaukee also tallied 22 assists, shot 50 percent from the field, and did a great job of erasing the memories of its home loss to Cleveland State Saturday.
"We had three-straight turnovers to start the game, but I thought our guys really responded well," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "We were able to start to get some things inside and that is the strength of our team. When we can stop runs by going inside and getting to the free throw line, that helps us get back on track."
Perhaps the biggest key in the game was the job Jordan Aaron did on the Horizon League's leading scorer, Travis Bader. Aaron took the lead on guarding him and limited him to seven points, forcing him into 0-of-9 shooting from the field.
"He played the best defensive game that we've seen him play in a Panther uniform," Jeter said. "I give him a lot of credit because he really stepped up. It was a team effort because Bader was getting loose a little bit, but Jordan did a nice job recovering as we gave him a little help."
The Panthers recovered from an extremely slow start to carry a four-point lead into the halftime locker room. Oakland scored the first 11 points of the game as Milwaukee turned the ball over five times. But McWhorter really sparked the Panthers back into the game, scoring four-straight to make it 13-7 and then adding another five in a row to trim the deficit to just 15-14.
Milwaukee took the lead for the first time at 19-18 on a Tiby layin and eventually went up 26-22 on a McWhorter three with 7:20 remaining.
Oakland did bounce back to reclaim a handful of two-point leads, including a 38-36 advantage late in the half. But the Panthers responded with the final six points before the break to lead 42-38.
The Panthers put their foot on the gas early in the second half, going up 46-38 on a Tiby layin just 90 seconds in before pushing the edge all the way out to 58-46 on a Arians three with 13:30 remaining.
Milwaukee wasn't done, though, going up 67-49 on a Wichmann layin with 9:50 left and then establishing its largest lead of the night at 69-49 on a Kelm free throw with 8:47 left.
UWM then steadily hung on from there, even though the Golden Grizzlies cut into the lead. The Panthers still led by 14 with 5:20 to play and never let Oakland get closer than the final margin of nine.
"Guys were unselfish. We got some key contributions off the bench," Jeter said. "J.J. Panoske comes in and hits a big three, and then our guy from Pulaski, Cody Wichmann. I think he felt comfortable, he looked aggressive, and for us this year it seems like we've had games where it's someone different."
Milwaukee returns to the U.S. Cellular Arena Sunday, hosting Green Bay in a 1 p.m. contest.