Smith's 28 Sparks Panthers Over Wyoming
Dec. 27, 2006
MILWAUKEE - Avery Smith scored 28 points to lead four players in double figures as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee claimed a 75-73 win over Wyoming Wednesday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
Kevin Massiah added a career-best 18 for the Panthers (3-11), who snapped a seven-game losing streak. Allan Hanson pitched in with 14 points and Paige Paulsen had 13 points and nine rebounds as UWM knocked off Wyoming (9-5) for the second-straight year.
Brandon Ewing led the Cowboys with 24 points, while Daaron Brown added 12 points and 14 rebounds.
UWM led by as many as 10 points in the first half and then turned a five-point second half deficit into a 66-57 lead with 1:40 remaining. From there, the Panthers hit 9-of-14 free throws to hang on for the win.
"When you're taking lumps, you just get tired of it, and eventually you just kind of get together. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I hope that we're getting stronger," UWM head coach Rob Jeter said. "For the first time in the long time, we had four guys in double figures. We did enough down the stretch. We kept our composure down the stretch for a young team."
Wyoming trailed by seven at halftime but claimed a 52-47 lead on a dunk by Joseph Taylor with 7:37 remaining. The Panthers then countered quickly to seize control of the game. UWM scored nine-straight, sparked by five-straight points from Paulsen, to lead 56-52 with 5:32 remaining. Eight-straight points from Smith pushed the edge to 64-57 with 2:03 left and a pair of free throws from Hansen inched the lead to nine.
Ewing did all he could to keep the Cowboys in the game from there, scoring on a layup to make it 71-66 with 1:02 left before converting on a three-point play with 48 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 72-69. Two more free throws from Ewing with 40 seconds left made it 73-71 but Smith countered with two of his own with 12 seconds remaining to help the Panthers hang on.
"Basically, we're trying to grow up as a team, we're maturing as a team," Jeter said. "I've been telling my guys over the last three weeks that our movement on offense is better, we're catching the ball in the right areas, and now we have to make shots. We made shots."
The Panthers fell behind 9-5 in the first four minutes of the game before recovering to take a 16-14 lead on a Smith layin with 12:45 to play. The lead grew to 22-16 on a Paulsen layin and hit 26-16 when Hanson knocked home a jumper with 7:23 left.
The Cowboys fought back, pulling within 26-24 on a three-pointer by James Spencer with 4:02 left. But, two baskets by Smith sandwiched around a three-pointer by Hanson gave the Panthers a 33-26 lead at the break.
UWM returns to action Saturday night, hosting #15 Butler at the U.S. Cellular Arena. The game tips off at 7 p.m. CST.