Nov. 8, 2012
The Hot List
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team opens the 2012-13 regular season with a Friday night home contest against the University of Mary.
The Panthers won their lone exhibition contest in dramatic fashion. UWM trailed UW-Parkside by 15 points at halftime Monday before capturing a 68-67 win on a pair of Jordan Aaron free throws with five seconds left.
If Monday's game was any indication, the Panthers will get some nice contributions from new or previously little-used players. Demetrius Harris, who played 19 games in a reserve role last season, led the way with 18 points. JUCO transfer Jordan Aaron added 15 while fellow transfer Thierno Niang added 12.
The Panthers are returning three starters and eight letterwinners from a team that won 20 games and played in the College Basketball Invitational a season ago. UWM also has five seniors on its roster, including returning starters James Haarsma and Paris Gulley.
UWM is without Gulley for approximately three more weeks after the senior broke his left hand in practice late last month.
Milwaukee has been picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League and did not land anyone on the preseason all-league team.
UWM has a very difficult stretch of games ahead, starting with Sunday's contest at South Carolina. Over the three weeks that follow, Milwaukee also plays at UALR and Northern Iowa while hosting Davidson.
Mary is also opening its regular season Friday. The Marauders split two exhibition games, including a loss at Creighton.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team opens the 2012-13 regular season by welcoming the University of Mary to the Klotsche Center Friday night.
A Quick Scout
Mary, from Bismark, ND, returns four starters and two other key reserves from a team that went 8-18 a season ago ... the Marauders are an NCAA Division II school and members of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference ... Mary did make the NCAA Tournament in 2011 ... Alex Dorr is U-Mary's top scorer and is a transfer from Iowa State ... UWM and Mary have never met.
UWM is 10-4 in its last 14 season openers overall, with a closer look at the record showing the Panthers don't usually shy away from early-season challenges. In fact, those four losses have come to Iowa (2000-01), Wisconsin (2002-03), Memphis (2005-06) and Portland (2010-11). Since Milwaukee returned to the Division I ranks in 1990, the Panthers are 13-9 in season openers. Meanwhile, UWM is 19-3 in home openers since 1990. Rob Jeter is 7-0 in home openers and 5-2 in season openers.
UWM is playing all of its home games at the on-campus Klotsche Center this season, a spot the Panthers have traditionally had a distinct homecourt advantage. Milwaukee has won 18 of its last 19 non-exhibition games in the building, with its only loss coming on "Retro Night" vs. Western Michigan two seasons ago. Going further back, UWM is 45-10 in its last 55 non-exhibition contests in the building. The Panthers have not called the building their permanent season home since the 2002-03 season and Rob Jeter has been the head coach for just two regular season games in the building.
Jordan Aaron hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to give UWM a 68-67 win over UW-Parkside in a men's basketball exhibition game Monday night at the Klotsche Center. The Panthers trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half and by six with a minute remaining before rallying for the victory. Aaron made a hard drive to the basket on Milwaukee's final possession, drawing a foul. He calmly sank both free throws before Nick Neari's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer missed.
Shiny New Contributions
If Monday's exhibition game was any indication, the Panthers will be getting plenty of contributions from new or previously little-used players. Senior Demetrius Harris, who played 19 games in a limited reserve role a season ago, led the way with 18 points. JUCO transfer Jordan Aaron added 15 points, including the game-winning free throws, while fellow transfer Thierno Niang had 12 points and seven steals.
Other Monday Numbers Of Note
UWM outscored Parkside, 45-29, in the second half, shooting 61.5 percent from the floor. Last season Milwaukee actually outscored its opponents by about four points per game in the first half but was outscored by about two points per game in the second half ... the Panthers made just 12-of-27 from the foul line against the Rangers. UWM shot 61.2 percent from the line last season ... senior Ryan Haggerty played 27 minutes Monday and scored seven points. He has played more than 27 minutes in a non-exhibition game just once in his career.
The Panther Overview
UWM returns three starters and eight letterwinners from a team that posted a 20-14 mark a season ago. In fact, the Panthers qualified for the postseason for the second year in a row, earning a spot in the College Basketball Invitational. Milwaukee's season ended with a loss at TCU in the first round of the postseason. Now, Milwaukee turns its focus to the 2012-13 campaign looking for its third 20-win season in the last four years along with its ninth top-four league finish in 11 years.
Let's Get Started
Milwaukee's three returning starters bring plenty to the table. Senior James Haarsma tops the list of returnees after averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game a season ago. Haarsma started 33 games and shot better than 52 percent from the field. He also earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors early in the season and just missed out on league all-newcomer recognition. Starters Paris Gulley and Kyle Kelm also return after taking on key roles a season ago. Gulley started 29 games and averaged better than eight points per contest. He also made just under 40 percent of his three-point shots. Gulley, though, is expected to be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks after breaking his hand in practice last week. Meanwhile, Kelm started 20 games and averaged almost eight points per contest.
More Familiar Faces
Milwaukee has some veteran depth to bring off the bench this season. Ryan Haggerty has played in 81 games in his first three seasons while also sitting one year out as a redshirt, while Christian Wolf has three years of Division I experience plus a redshirt year under his belt. Meanwhile, senior Demetrius Harris played in 19 games a season ago after transferring from Mineral Area CC and is now expected to play a more expanded role. The former football standout appears to be a likely starter for Milwaukee in the front court. Guard Evan Richard is also back after playing in 25 games a year ago. Richard was actually UWM's leading scorer on its trip to Italy prior to Richard's freshman season, but the guard was limited some by a back injury a season ago after redshirting that first year.
Looking To Make A Point
UWM is looking for a new point guard in 2012-13 with the departure of all-league performer Kaylon Williams. But, confidence is running high that junior college transfer Jordan Aaron can fill the void. Aaron played the past two seasons at Southeastern Community College and was highly sought-after before coming to Milwaukee. As a freshman at SECC, Aaron led his team to the national semifinals. Then he added 14.4 points per game as a sophomore.
Some Other New Guys
The Panthers will certainly be counting on some other new faces in 2012-13. JUCO transfer Thierno Niang could well be in the starting lineup as the season begins after two strong seasons at Triton Community College. Niang also played for Senegal's national team in the 2011 African Championships. Madison Edgewood standout Austin Arians could also be a contributor after earning Associated Press and WBCA All-State honors as a senior in high school. Plus, J.J. Panoske will hit the active roster this season after redshirting a year ago. Panoske was an all-state performer at Randolph High School and is expected to be a big contributor both inside and out in 2012-13.
A Veteran At The Top
Rob Jeter shares the mantle of dean of head coaches in the Horizon League. The former Wisconsin and UWM assistant is now starting his eighth season as the head coach at Milwaukee, as is Jerry Slocum at Youngstown State. Jeter was the 2011 Horizon League Coach of the Year and has led the Panthers to a pair of league titles, an NCAA Tournament berth and three postseason appearances in his first seven years at the helm. He has three 20-win seasons, 121 wins overall and a 72-50 mark in Horizon League play.
Panthers Vs. Panthers
Demetrius Harris and Steve McWhorter scored 19 points apiece to lead the Gold to an 88-77 win over the Black Oct. 23 at the annual Full Court Club Intrasquad Scrimmage. The fast-paced affair saw the two teams combine for 20 made three-pointers. James Haarsma led the Black with 20 points while newcomer Jordan Aaron had 19 points and six assists. A pair of freshmen also shined. Redshirt freshman J.J. Panoske had 12 points and three blocks for the Gold while true freshman Austin Arians made five 3-pointers en route to 15 points for the Black. In all, five players reached double digits for the Gold while four others hit double figures for the Black. In addition to the six assists by Aaron at the point for the Black, Thierno Niang had eight assists to go with 14 points for the Gold.
The Panthers were picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League in a preseason poll of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media. No Milwaukee player landed on the all-league team. Valparaiso, the defending league regular season champion, was picked to win the crown, while Detroit was picked to finish second. Other preseason publications have placed the Panthers anywhere from fourth to sixth in the league standings, with both James Haarsma and Paris Gulley earning preseason accolades from some pollsters.
UWM has again assembled a difficult non-league schedule. The Panthers will play at Wisconsin, South Carolina, Northern Iowa and DePaul while hosting Davidson Nov. 17. Milwaukee is also spending Thanksgiving in Puerto Vallerta. In all, the Panthers will play 11 games against teams that played in the postseason a year ago while squaring off with squads from the SEC, Big East and Big Ten. Plus, UWM plays at home just twice in its first seven games. And, the home game that jumps out is a doozy, with the Panthers hosting Davidson Nov. 17. USA Today Sports Weekly tabs it as one of five Horizon League "Don't Miss Games," and the same publication says, "There hasn't been this much excitement about a Davidson basketball season since Stephen Curry's final season." Davidson is one of three UWM non-league opponents (UNI and Fairfield are the others) to earn a spot in the preseason edition of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.
A Leader On The Horizon
The Horizon League takes on a slightly new look in 2012-13 with the departure of Butler to the Atlantic 10. That move caused a late adjustment in the league schedule, which now will not begin until early January. The Panthers are scheduled to open league play on the road at NCAA qualifier Detroit. UWM also now takes over the mantle of winningest Horizon League program over the last 12 years. The Panthers are the only school to average more than 10 league wins per season in that time and Milwaukee has been below .500 in league play just once in 12 years. UWM's 130-70 mark in 12 seasons bests Wright State (113-87) by 17 games and those are the only two schools to win at least 100 league games in that time.
Single-game tickets for this season's UWM home games are now on sale. Tickets for all games are available through Ticketmaster or through the Panther Ticket Office in the Pavilion. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com, all Milwaukee-area Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the Panther Ticket Office, located in the lobby of the Pavilion. Additional information is available by calling the ticket office at 414-229-5886. Single-game ticket prices start at just $10. Full and partial season-ticket packages also remain available through the UWM Ticket Office, including the special 2 for $99 offer. This season's Mini-Pack ticket offer includes the games with Tennessee Tech (Dec. 15), Valparaiso (Jan. 12), Green Bay (Jan. 25) and Detroit (Feb. 7).
UWM hits the road for a Sunday afternoon contest at South Carolina. The game will be broadcast locally on Fox Sports Wisconsin and tips off at 2 p.m. CST.