Panthers Hang On To Knock Off San Jose State
Nov. 15, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. - Jordan Aaron scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee hung on for a 64-61 win over San Jose State Friday night in the first game of the NIU Invitational.
The Panthers (2-1) led by 10 points with two minutes to play but had to weather a pair of three-point attempts in the final seconds by the Spartans to avoid overtime.
Milwaukee again built a sturdy advantage at the line, making 19-of-30 free throws. Plus the Panthers had just 11 turnovers. But UWM could never quite put away the Spartans.
"We did enough to get it done," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "As I keep saying, we're so young and so new, we're going to be on that roller coaster. But it's better to be on that roller coaster after a win than after a loss."
Rashad Muhammad had 17 points to lead four players in double figures for the Spartans (0-2).
There were many times it seemed Milwaukee might pull away. The Panthers built a 17-9 lead on a Kyle Kelm hoop with 8:35 remaining only to see San Jose State eventually tie the game at 22-apiece. UWM again restored a 32-26 lead in the opening minutes of the second half but eventually trailed 37-34 and 40-39.
Milwaukee took the lead for good, though, on a single Tiby free throw with 12 minutes left and eventually turned that into a 16-6 run that seemed to put the game away. That burst was capped by a pair of free throws by Arians, making it 59-49 with two minutes left.
But San Jose State wasn't done. The Spartans crawled to within 61-56 with 59.8 seconds remaining before Aaron answered with a pair of free throws with 40.6 seconds remaining. San Jose then got within 63-60 on a pair of Brandon Mitchell free throw with 14.1 remaining and Aaron answered with a single free throw with 10.2 seconds left.
That set the stage for a wild closing stretch, as Jalen James made his first free throw but missed his second before the Spartans got the offense rebound. That led to a pair of tries to tie the game from three-point range, but the second one missed as the horn sounded, allowing the Panthers to hang on.
"I like to see the fact that we're sharing the ball. I like to see the turnovers down where they were, and again our free throws were up," Jeter said. "There are some signs, now we just have to put it all together. Today just seemed to be a little choppy, and we know we're going to have to play much better the rest of the weekend."
Milwaukee continues play in the NIU Invitational Saturday at 5:30 p.m. against James Madison. The Dukes made the NCAA Tournament a year ago and were playing the host Huskies in the second game tonight.