McPherson Layin Stuns Milwaukee
Dec. 31, 2009
VALPARAISO, Ind. - Brandon McPherson stole an inbounds pass at midcourt and converted a layup with 0.9 seconds remaining to give Valparaiso a 55-54 victory over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center.
The stunning turn of events overshadowed a great comeback by the Panthers (8-6, 1-2 Horizon) and a career night by freshman Ja'Rob McCallum. The Marion, Ind., native had 20 points and put Milwaukee ahead on a three-pointer with just under 20 seconds remaining.
Valpo then missed on its first chance to reclaim the lead after the McCallum three, as Michael Rogers missed a three from the corner and Jerard Ajami got the rebound with five seconds left. VU then fouled twice, pushing the Panthers to the brink of the bonus. But, on the next inbound play, a line-drive pass was intercepted by McPherson on a dead sprint at midcourt. He drove into the lane and scored a challenged shot with under a second left.
A three-quarter court heave by McCallum then came up just short as time expired.
McCallum was the only Panther player in double figures, as James Eayrs was next on the scoring charts with eight.
Brandon Wood scored 22 points to lead Valpo (6-8, 1-1), which also got 10 points off the bench from Matt Kenney.
Milwaukee trailed by as many as nine points in the second half and struggled with turnovers throughout the evening before finally claiming that late, one-point lead.
UWM actually made a pair of comebacks in the second half. The Panthers trailed 36-27 with 12:16 remaining but captured a 40-38 lead after 11-straight from McCallum and a tip-in basket from Michael Tyler. Valpo rebuilt a five-point lead, going up 50-45 with 3:28 left. But Milwaukee didn't go away, as a three-point play by Eayrs and a pair of threes from McCallum pushed the Panthers to the brink of victory.
Instead, McPherson made the play of the game and scored his only basket of the night.
The Panthers scored eight of the first 10 points of the game and still led 13-7 after a layin by Deonte Roberts. But, Valpo struck back with the next 10 points to take the lead, as a three-pointer by Ryan Broekhoff and an inside hoop from Cameron Witt highlighted the run.
Milwaukee was still within 19-16 before the Crusaders put together another burst, scoring nine of the 12 points to claim a 28-19 advantage. UWM held Valpo scoreless for the final 3:48 of the half, though, pulling within 28-22 on a Ricky Franklin jumper just before the halftime horn.
UWM turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, with an amazing six of those coming on offensive fouls. The Panthers made just seven field goals in the first 20 minutes, with just two made baskets over the final 13 minutes.
The Panthers wrap up their weekend road swing through Indiana with a Saturday afternoon contest at Butler. The game tips off at 1 p.m. CST and will air live on Sports 32 in Milwaukee as part of the Horizon League Game of the Week package.