Eayrs Sparks Panthers To Second-Straight League Win
Dec. 6, 2008
MILWAUKEE -- James Eayrs scored 14 points to lead three players in double figures as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee captured a 66-59 win over Wright State Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
UWM led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the second half before seeing the entire advantage slip away. But, after Wright State claimed a 54-53 lead with 4:12 remaining, Milwaukee finished the game on a 13-5 run to wrap up the win.
John David Gardner scored 14 points to lead four players in double figures for Wright State (0-6, 0-2), which was picked second in the Horizon League but has not yet broken through with a win.
The final surge by the Panthers started with a Deonte Roberts layin and two free throws from Eayrs pushed the lead to three. A layin by Boyle extended the edge to five before a pair of free throws from Cory Copperwood brought Wright State back within three. But, on the next possession, Eayrs buried a three with the shot clock running down, giving the Panthers control with just over a minute to play in the game.
"We still haven't put together a 40-minute game but we are finding a way to win, so there are a lot of positives in that," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "We found a way. If we put 40 minutes together ... that's what I'm waiting to see."
Eayrs wound up making all four of his three-point tries and added eight rebounds off the bench. Roberts and Avery Smith each added nine points, with Smith also contributing eight rebounds and four assists.
"James just understands how to play," Jeter said. "The more minutes he gets on the floor, you can see some of those intangibles come out. He gets his hands on some of those rebounds and he doesn't jump, but he is able to create enough space to get rebounds. He is a factor (offensively), especially when teams are switching."
UWM looked like it might run away with the game in the first half. The Panthers got off to another quick start, making their first four 3-point baskets to build a 13-5 lead in the first four minutes. UWM eventually led 30-15 on a Boyle three and pushed the edge to 33-17 on a three by Eayrs. Milwaukee then carried a 37-24 lead into the locker room.
Wright State wouldn't go away, though. After UWM led by 15 points again early in the second half, the Raiders cut the lead to 44-39 on a layin by Will Graham with under 12 minutes remaining. The Raiders eventually pulled within 51-49 on a pair of free throws by Brown with 7:07 left and then took their lone lead at 54-53 on a layin by Gardner with 4:15 left.
But, Roberts scored only 21 seconds later to give the Panthers the lead back and UWM steadily rode to the finish of its second-straight win.
UWM returns to action Thursday night, playing at Miami (Ohio). The game tips off at 6 p.m. CST and can be seen live in Milwaukee on Time Warner Cable Sports 32, as well as nationally on ESPN Full Court and ESPN360.