Big Second-Half Comeback Sends Northeastern Past Panthers
Dec. 21, 2013
NEW ORLEANS, La. - Scott Eatherton hit two free throws with 18.6 seconds remaining to put Northeastern ahead for good in claiming a 62-59 comeback win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Saturday afternoon at Devlin Fieldhouse.
The Panthers (9-4) led by 19 points at halftime and by as many as 20 points in the second half before the Huskies came roaring back to claim the victory.
Northeastern's comeback was sparked by 58 percent shooting in the second half, with the Huskies scoring 45 points over the final 20 minutes after scoring just 17 points in the first half.
Eatherton led the Huskies (3-8) with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Jordan Aaron had 14 points to lead four players in double figures for Milwaukee. The Panthers shot almost 52 percent and made four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes but made just 10 field goals overall in the second half.
Plus, Milwaukee never got its inside game on track as the contest wore on. The Panthers entered the contest averaging more than 24 free throw attempts per game but managed just six. And, Matt Tiby was limited to 19 minutes because of foul trouble.
"We really searched and struggled to get to the free throw line," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "Without Tiby on the floor, who is usually able to get us some tough baskets, we just couldn't get to the free throw line. And then I think the big stat is rebounding. It was those second-chance opportunities in the second half that really hurt us."
Milwaukee's peak advantage was 46-26 with 13:30 to play before Northeastern surged back. The Huskies took the lead for the first time with under three minutes to play and eventually led 58-55 with 1:30 left. Aaron gave Milwaukee renewed life by converting a four-point play with 36.5 seconds left, putting the Panthers ahead 59-58.
But the advantage was short-lived as Eatherton hit the go-ahead free throws with 18.6 seconds left and added two more following a Milwaukee turnover. Aaron's attempt to tie the game at the buzzer from the right wing then rimmed off as time expired.
"We've been in some tough situations and we've been on the positive end of them, but now this is the first time all year that we've lost two-straight," Jeter said. "Then to lose this one after being in a commanding lead in the first half - this is going to test us again."
The Panthers were in control throughout much of the first 20 minutes of the game. Milwaukee scored 11 of the first 13 points of the contest, capping the early burst on a three-pointer by Tiby. Northeastern was able to close to within 13-9 and again to within 16-12, but the Huskies could never get on track.
Milwaukee extended its advantage to double-figures for the first time at 26-15 on a follow-up basket by Malcolm Moore, and then the Panthers finished the half with a flurry. In fact, UWM scored the final 10 of the frame, highlighted by three-pointers from Steve McWhorter and Aaron in the final minute.
Northeastern trimmed the Panther lead to 38-26 early in the second half but Milwaukee restored a 46-26 advantage on a McWhorter layin with 13:30 remaining. It was all Huskies from there, though. A run of nine-straight points brought Northeastern to within 48-44 with 6:15 left and then Zach Stahl gave the Huskies their first lead at 54-53 on a layup with 2:50 remaining.
That set the stage for the closing moments, where Milwaukee came up just short in seeking its 10th win of the year.
UWM returns to action Sunday afternoon on day two of the Westin Holiday Classic, as the Panthers take on Alabama State at 3 p.m.