Panthers Face First Road Test Sunday At South Carolina

Nov. 10, 2012

 Game #2 | Milwaukee (1-0) @ South Carolina (0-0)
 Date  Sunday, Nov. 11 | 2 p.m. CST
 Location  Columbia Life Arena | Columbia, SC
 Milwaukee TV  Fox Sports Wisconsin (Dave Neal and Larry Conley)
 Radio  WISN-AM1130 (Bill Johnson and Kevin O'Connor) - Listen Live  Gametracker
 More Information  Milwaukee Game Notes

The Hot List
• The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team hits the road for the first time in the 2012-13 season, playing at South Carolina.

• The Panthers opened the regular season with an easy 76-46 win over the University of Mary Friday night at the Klotsche Center. Milwaukee trailed for the first 10 minutes of the game before seizing complete control of the contest.

• After a very tight exhibition win over Parkside Monday, the Panthers looked like a well-oiled machine Friday. Milwaukee made 13 three-pointers, committed just eight turnovers and held Mary to just 32.7 percent shooting from the floor. UWM also had five players score at least seven points.

• 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.

• South Carolina is opening its regular season Sunday and is playing its first game under new coach Frank Martin.

• Game #2
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team plays on the road for the first time the season, squaring off with South Carolina in Columbia on Sunday.

• A Quick Scout
South Carolina is playing its first regular season game of the year Sunday ... the Gamecocks are also making their debut under new head coach Frank Martin ... South Carolina did win its lone exhibition game, capturing a 68-67 victory over Kentucky Wesleyan ... UWM is playing a current member of the SEC for the first time since the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when the Panthers lost to eventual national champion Florida in the second round ... the previous season Milwaukee beat Alabama in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

• Plenty Of The Road Ahead
Sunday's contest is one of plenty of chances over the next few weeks for Milwaukee to test out its abilities on the road. UWM does return home next Saturday to host Davidson before playing four-straight games outside of Milwaukee, including two in Puerto Vallerta. UWM went 7-10 on the road a year ago and won eight road games two seasons ago. In all, the Panthers will play just six of their 15 non-league games in Milwaukee.

• The Last Time Out
Kyle Kelm scored 15 points and UWM held the University of Mary to just 32.7 percent shooting from the field en route to a 76-46 win Friday night at the Klotsche Center. Jordan Aaron added 12 points and seven assists while Thierno Niang had 11 for Milwaukee, which was playing its regular season opener. The Panthers made 13 three-pointers and committed just eight turnovers in a solid effort.

• It Starts With Defense
There could be few complaints with the Panthers' defensive effort Friday in the win over Mary. UWM held the Marauders to just 32.7 percent shooting from the field while Mary made only 3-of-21 from three-point range. That effort comes of the heels of one of the best defensive seasons in Milwaukee basketball history, as last year UWM allowed opponents to shoot just 41.9 percent from the floor overall and only 29 percent from three-point range. A season ago, the Panthers held five opponents to less than 50 points in a game, including two to under 40 points.

• For Starters
UWM's starting five may well be in some flux during the early part of the season, with projected starter Paris Gulley sidelined for a few more weeks with a broken hand and a wide variety of new and returning options for head coach Rob Jeter to use in multiple positions. The starting five for Monday's exhibition game included JUCO transfers Jordan Aaron and Thierno Niang, seniors returnees James Haarsma and Demetrius Harris and junior returnee Kyle Kelm. Senior Christian Wolf then jumped into the starting five in place of Kelm Friday.

• But That Might Help The Bench
The multiple choices for the starting lineup should mean UWM has good depth off the bench. For example, Kyle Kelm responded to playing in reserve instead of starting by leading the team in scoring Friday, tallying 15 points. The junior has started 22 games in his 66 appearances. Senior Ryan Haggerty will be a mainstay off the bench and has now played in 82 games in his career. Freshmen J.J. Panoske and Austin Arians also look like solid contributors, with the duo combining for 11 points in 24 minutes Friday.

• Dialing Long Distance
UWM has plenty of shooters on its roster in 2012-13, and the Panthers were busy showing that off Friday night. Milwaukee knocked down 13 three-pointers, with six different players making at least one 3 and everyone who played trying at least one. And all of that happened without arguably UWM's best three-pointer shooter on the court, as Paris Gulley remains sidelined by a broken hand. A year ago, Milwaukee made 10 or more three-pointers 11 times and made 264 threes as a team on the season.

• Other Friday Numbers
UWM had just eight turnovers in the game. The Panthers were in single digits in turnovers four times last season ... Jordan Aaron had seven assists to go with 12 points in his official collegiate debut ... other debut performances included Thierno Niang (11 points), Austin Arians (7 points) and J.J. Panoske (4 points, 3 rebounds) ... UWM is now 11-4 in its last 15 season openers overall ... since Milwaukee returned to the Division I ranks in 1990, the Panthers are 14-9 in season openers ... UWM is 20-3 in home openers since 1990 while Rob Jeter is now 8-0 in home openers and 6-2 in season openers ... Milwaukee has now won 19 of its last 20 non-exhibition games played in the Klotsche Center and is 46-10 in its last 56 games in the building.

• Exhibition Rewind
Jordan Aaron hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to give UWM a 68-67 win over UW-Parkside in an 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.

• Exhibition Notables
The exhibition win included 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 ... 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. 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 2-3 more 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. 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 his freshman season.

• 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 begins his Division I career 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.

• 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, 122 wins overall and a 72-50 mark in Horizon League play.

• Polling Place
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.

• Being Tested
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." 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 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.



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