Nov. 15, 2012
The Hot List
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team returns to the Klotsche Center for a Saturday night contest with Davidson.
The Panthers led by as many as 17 points and by eight late in the second half before falling, 82-75 in overtime, Sunday at South Carolina.
Jordan Aaron earned Horizon League Co-Newcomer of the Week accolades after scoring 28 points against the Gamecocks. He knocked in seven 3-pointers while adding six assists, four rebounds and three steals.
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 two 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.
After Saturday's game, UWM does not play again in Milwaukee until Dec. 5. During that stretch, the Panthers play at Arkansas-Little Rock and Northern Iowa while also squaring off against Jacksonville and Rider in neutral-site games.
Davidson returns all five starters from a team that won 25 games and went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. The Wildcats built a double-digit lead at New Mexico earlier this week before falling in the second half.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team returns to the Klotsche Center for a Saturday night contest against Davidson. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and UWM students in attendance will receive a free t-shirt courtesy of Andrew Chevrolet.
A Quick Scout
Davidson returns all five starters from a team that won 25 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament a season ago ... the Wildcats opened their season with a win over Emory before falling at New Mexico during the week ... in the game at New Mexico, Davidson led by as many as 16 points in the first half but could not overcome 38-of-44 free throw shooting by the Lobos ... De'Mon Brooks is the Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year and is joined by Jake Cohen and Nik Cochran on the preseason all-league team.
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 19 of its last 20 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 46-10 in its last 56 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 three regular season games in the building.
But We Won't Be Here Much
Saturday's contest is one of the few Milwaukee is playing at home in the early season. The Panthers hit the road for their next four games, starting with a quick turnaround for a Monday game at Arkansas-Little Rock. The upcoming stretch also includes two games in Puerto Vallerta and a contest at Northern Iowa Dec. 1. In all, the Panthers will play just six of their 15 non-league games in Milwaukee and, after Saturday, UWM will have four home and nine away non-league contests remaining.
The Local Tube
Saturday's game vs. Davidson is the debut of Milwaukee's local television package with Time Warner Cable's Sports32 for the 2012-13 season. UWM and Sports32 have been working together since the 2007-08 season, and Sports32 will carry at least nine Panther men's games this season. Daron Sutton and Adrian Tigert return as the voices of Panther basketball on TV, while radio play-by-play man Bill Johnson is back as the host of "The Rob Jeter Show." Along with the nine games on Sports32, Milwaukee will appear at least five times on the ESPN family of networks while also making single appearances on FSN and the Big Ten Network.
The Last Time Out
Jordan Aaron scored 28 points and UWM was ahead most of the way but could not hang on in dropping an 82-75 overtime decision to South Carolina Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Milwaukee led by as many as 17 points early in the second half and was still up eight with four minutes to play before losing in the extra five minutes. A disputed foul call allowed South Carolina to tie the game from the line in the final 20 seconds and then the Gamecocks never trailed in the extra period.
Making His Point
It hasn't taken long for junior-college transfer Jordan Aaron to settle into the backcourt for Milwaukee. Aaron was named the Horizon League Co-Newcomer of the Week this week after averaging 20 points per game in Milwaukee's first two contests of the season. The guard exploded for 28 points in the Panthers' overtime loss at South Carolina Sunday afternoon. He made seven 3-pointers in the contest while adding six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Aaron's 28 points were the most by a Panther since Anthony Hill scored 32 against UIC at the tail end of the 2010-11 campaign. Aaron is filling the void at point guard left by all-league performer Kaylon Williams. He 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.
Other New Faces Pitching In
Jordan Aaron is far from the only newcomer making an impact for the Panthers in the early season. In fact, four of UWM's five starters in the season opener against Mary were making their first-ever collegiate start. Thierno Niang, a JUCO transfer from Senegal via Triton Community College, is starting in the backcourt in place of the injured Paris Gulley. True freshman Austin Arians has averaged 7.5 points per game in two contests off the bench. Returning players Demetrius Harris and Christian Wolf have also each played much bigger roles early this season than ever before. Each has started the first two games of the season after the two had combined to appear in just 57 games total over four seasons of college basketball coming into the year.
Dialing Long Distance
UWM has plenty of shooters on its roster in 2012-13, and the Panthers have been busy showing that off in the first two games of the season. Milwaukee knocked down 13 three-pointers in the season opener against Mary and then made 14 more in the loss at South Carolina. Seven different players have already made at least one 3-pointer. And, Milwaukee has outscored its opponents 81-9 from beyond the arc. All of this is happening 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.
And There's The Perimeter D
Milwaukee's perimeter defense will get a tremendous test in Saturday's contest with Davidson, but the Panthers have assembled a good resume in that department so far. South Carolina failed to make a three-pointer in 11 tries in Sunday's game, while Mary made just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc last Friday. That means opponents are shooting just 9.4 percent from beyond the arc against Milwaukee, converting just 3-of-32 attempts. All in all, hopes are high Milwaukee can put together another stellar defensive seasons. A year ago, UWM allowed opponents to shoot just 41.9 percent from the floor overall and only 29 percent from three-point range. And, a season ago, the Panthers held five opponents to less than 50 points in a game, including two to under 40 points.
More Sunday Numbers
UWM lost in overtime for the first time since a January of 2009 defeat vs. Green Bay. Rob Jeter is 9-7 as a head coach in overtime ... James Haarsma tallied the first double-double of his Milwaukee career in the loss. The senior had 14 points and 10 rebounds. It was third double-figure rebounding outing of his career at UWM ... the Panthers did struggle from the line in the contest, making just 9-of-19. UWM struggled similarly from the line in exhibition play, making just 12-of-27 from the stripe. But Milwaukee did hit 13-of-16 vs. Mary. Last season UWM was just a 62 percent free throw shooting team.
UWM may have gotten a little more than it bargained for in its lone exhibition contest, as Jordan Aaron had to hit two free throws with five seconds remaining to give UWM a 68-67 win over UW-Parkside Nov. 5. 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 and calmly sinking both free throws. But the Panthers have been tested by Luke Reigel's Rangers before, with UWP beating Milwaukee in 2006 and nearly pulling off another win in 2007.
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 two 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.