Nov. 17, 2011
The Hot List
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team returns to the U.S. Cellular Arena for a weekend homestand, starting with a Friday night contest against IUPUI.
UWM is looking for its first 3-0 start since the 2004-05 season.
The Panthers moved to 2-0 on the young season with a 59-57 win at Northern Illinois Monday night in DeKalb. Milwaukee led by as many as 14 points in the first half but then had to hang on in the closing seconds for the victory.
The Panthers won the Horizon League regular season title and advanced to the NIT a season ago.
Milwaukee has been picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League this year in a poll of the league's head coaches, SIDs and media. Butler was picked to win the league, followed by Detroit and Cleveland State.
Seniors Kaylon Williams and Tony Meier each earned a spot on the preseason all-league team in the same poll. Williams, who led the league in assists last season, was put on the first team while Meier, who averaged 12.0 points per game a season ago, claimed a place on the second team.
Williams and Meier are joined by Ryan Allen in the Panthers' three-man senior class. Meier is a four-year player for Milwaukee, while Williams and Allen were both junior-college transfers a season ago.
Other key returnees include Ja'Rob McCallum, Kyle Kelm, Lonnie Boga and Ryan Haggerty, while Milwaukee also welcomes a talented group of redshirts and newcomers. Evansville transfer James Haarsma has been in the starting lineup.
IUPUI is 1-1 after a loss at Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday night. The Jaguars won 19 games a season ago.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team is back home for a pair of weekend games, starting with a Friday night date against IUPUI.
The Jaguars lost at Arkansas-Little Rock, 75-70, Tuesday night ... IUPUI is led by Summit League Preseason Player of the Year Alex Young ... Young is one of three starters returning ... Todd Howard is in his first season as the coach of the Jaguars ... he took over for former UWM assistant Ron Hunter, who left for the job at Georgia State ... the Jaguars beat Green Bay by 17 points last season.
IUPUI is the only Summit League team the Panthers are scheduled to face this season ... the two teams have not met since 1990, prior to Milwaukee moving back into Division I ... UWM has won its last two games against teams from the Summit League, beating South Dakota State last year and North Dakota State two seasons ago ... this game is part of the Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Invitational, which is organized as an exempt tournament by Michigan State ... IUPUI already played Arkansas-Little Rock as part of the event ... UWM is scheduled to play three more games in the tournament, including the home game Sunday with Texas Southern and road games next week at Michigan State and Little Rock.
Injury And Lineup Updates
Milwaukee will again be shorthanded in Friday's contest with IUPUI, as neither senior Tony Meier or junior Lonnie Boga are expected to dress. Meier is continuing to recover from a calf injury while Boga is recovering from a shoulder injury. Combined, the two players account for 150 games played and 92 career starts.
Looking For A Fast Start
The Panthers' 2-0 start to the season marks their best since the 2008-09 campaign, when Milwaukee also started 2-0 before a loss to Iowa State. The last time UWM started a season 3-0 was 2004-05, when Milwaukee won its first six games.
The Last Time Out
James Haarsma had 15 points and 12 rebounds as UWM hung on for a 59-57 win over Northern Illinois Monday night at the Convocation Center. The Panthers led by as many as 14 points in the first half but then had to overcome 25 percent shooting and a 6-of-14 effort from the foul line in the second 20 minutes. Ja'Rob McCallum added 12 points while Kyle Kelm and Ryan Allen had 10 apiece. Tim Toler had 11 points to lead Northern Illinois.
Heavy On Haarsma
Panther fans have been eagerly awaiting the chance to see James Haarsma in a Milwaukee uniform and the junior transfer is showing why. He wound up collecting 17 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end, to go with nine points in the season opener against Southwest Minnesota State Saturday. Then, he posted a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Northern Illinois Monday. His 10 offensive boards against SMSU marked the first time a Panther has reached double digits in that category since Marcus Skinner did it against Green Bay in 2008. And, the 17 total rebounds equaled the second-most in a game in Division I school history (also tying Marcus Skinner).
So Many New Faces
Especially with UWM fielding a shorthanded team early in the season, the Panthers wound up with a team full of new faces. In fact, as head coach Rob Jeter pointed out after the game, Milwaukee played Saturday's game against SMSU without four starters from a season, counting the graduated Anthony Hill and Tone Boyle along with Kaylon Williams and Tony Meier. Williams did return for Monday's win at Northern Illinois, but the Panthers still find themselves breaking in a number of new players. James Haarsma and Paris Gulley were both in the starting lineup in their first regular season Milwaukee appearances Saturday and Haarsma should be a regular in the lineup all season. Shaquille Boga, Demetrius Harris and Evan Richard have all appeared off the bench in the first two games. In all, nearly half of Saturday's minutes played (96 of 200) came from newcomers, with that number trimmed to 66 with the return of Williams Monday.
Winning Without Shooting
UWM's biggest struggles in the first two games of the season have come with shooting the basketball, as Milwaukee is hitting just 35.7 percent of its shots on the season. In fact, other than players who have taken two or fewer shots, no one is shooting better than 44 percent from the field. And, UWM won each of its first two games despite shooting worse from the field than its opponent. The Panthers have had four different players reach double figures in points in each of the first two games.
But On Defense
If you aren't going to shoot it well yourself, you best not let your opponent shoot it all that well either. The Panthers have accomplished that mission through two games, as UWM's opponents are shooting just 40 percent from the field overall and have made just 5-of-24 from three-point range. The Panthers' defense also forced 23 turnovers by Northern Illinois. That was the most by a Panther opponent since Detroit turned it over 23 times on January 1 of this year.
Other Early-Season Numbers
Ryan Allen's 16 points Saturday marked a collegiate-high and he then scored 10 more Monday at NIU. He has just three double-figure scoring outings all of last season ... Kyle Kelm's 10 points Monday marked the first time he has reached double figures in his collegiate career ... Mitch Roelke was pressed into duty as the point guard Saturday thanks to extensive foul trouble and he came through with a pair of three-pointers and no turnovers in nine minutes. Roelke was a manager when he was a true freshman year before joining the active roster last season ... UWM is now 10-4 in its last 14 season openers ... the Panthers have never lost a home opener under Rob Jeter (7-0) ... Milwaukee is now 84-30 in regular season and postseason contests at The Cell since their return in 2002-03 ... Rob Jeter's teams are 62-29 at home ... Milwaukee has now won 16 true road games in the last two-plus seasons ... the Panthers are also 71-19 under Jeter when scoring 70 or more.
A Little Background On Last Year
UWM wrapped up the 2010-11 season with 19 wins, a league title and the school's fifth-ever Division I postseason berth. The Panthers won the Horizon League regular season title with a 13-5 mark and then came up short in their quest for a fourth NCAA Tournament berth, falling to Butler in the league championship game. The Panthers still earned a spot in the NIT for just the second time in school history and fell to Northwestern, 70-61, in the first round. Milwaukee finished the regular season with a flourish, winning its final nine regular season league contests, with that run taking Milwaukee from 4-5 and seventh place after a loss at Valpo Jan. 21 to the top spot. Head coach Rob Jeter claimed Horizon League Coach of the Year honors while senior Anthony Hill was a First-Team All-League performer. Hill also earned league all-tournament recognition and was named a NABC Second-Team All-District 12 performer. Kaylon Williams was named to the league's all-newcomer team and Tony Meier was one of 11 players to earned NACDA Division I-AAA Scholar-Athlete honors.
Previewing Things For This Time Around
UWM returns three starters and eight letterwinners this year and once again has high expectations. Senior point guard Kaylon Williams heads up the list of returnees. He collected 178 assists last season, the second-most in a single season in over 100 years of Milwaukee basketball and the top tally in the Horizon League. Williams had a triple-double vs. Butler and a rebound-assist double-double last season. Senior Tony Meier also returns after averaging 12 points per game last year, with five 20-point outings and league player of the week recognition after the final weekend of the regular season.
Plenty Of Other Faces Back
Among the other returnees, junior guard Ja'Rob McCallum started 26 games a season ago and has made 88 three-pointers in two seasons. Ryan Allen came on strong late in the season and is back for his second season in Milwaukee. The athletic senior averaged 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per contest last year. Lonnie Boga was hampered by an ankle injury late in the year but still played in 25 games. And, Kyle Kelm posted a solid true freshman campaign, averaging nearly three points and just over two rebounds per game while playing behind Meier and Anthony Hill.
Redshirts No More
UWM should benefit from an influx of strong new talent, including the activation of a pair of redshirts. James Haarsma is an odds-on favorite to claim a starting spot on the interior this season. He sat out last season after transferring from Evansville but averaged nearly 11 points and over seven rebounds per game with the Purple Aces in 2009-10. Evan Richard will also join the active roster after sitting out last season. He led the Panthers in scoring during last August's trip to Italy.
More New Faces
Among the other newcomers, JUCO transfers Paris Gulley and Demetrius Harris should both contribute. Gulley is a stellar outside shooter who earned JUCO All-American honors last season, while Harris is an athletic interior player who originally committed to play Division I football out of high school. Milwaukee has also added a pair of high school standouts to its roster. J.J. Panoske was an all-state performer at Brodhead High School. The 6-foot-10 Panoske scored over 1,500 points in his high school career. Shaquille Boga comes to the Panthers from St. Louis, Mo., and McCluer High School. The brother of current Panther Lonnie Boga, Shaq Boga is a 5-foot-11 all-state guard who scored over 1,800 points in high school.
The Panthers have been picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League, according to the results of the league's official preseason balloting that includes head coaches, SIDs and media members. Butler claimed the top spot in the poll with 468 points, including 28 first-place votes. Detroit was picked second with 453 points and 19 first-place votes. CSU is third with 388 points and two first-place votes while Milwaukee was right behind with 356 points and a single first-place vote. Meanwhile, Kaylon Williams and Tony Meier each claimed spots on the official Preseason All-Horizon League Team. Williams was a preseason first-team all-league selection while Meier was voted onto the preseason second team.
A Decade Of Horizon Success
Over the last 11 years, Milwaukee and Butler have established themselves as the top two programs in the Horizon League. In fact, starting with the 2000-01 season, Milwaukee has the second-most league wins behind Butler and those are the only two schools to average more than 10 league wins per season. UWM has been below .500 in league play just once in 11 years - only Butler and Wright State can also make that claim. And, Milwaukee has now won 10 or more league games in eight of 11 years while winning four regular season crowns. The standings over the last 11 years, including Youngstown State (joined 2001-2002) and Valparaiso (2007-2008).
Butler 138 44
Milwaukee 119 63
Wright State 106 76
Green Bay 89 93
Detroit 87 95
UIC 81 100
Cleveland State 79 103
Loyola 74 108
Youngstown State 39 129
Valparaiso 38 35
Schedule Is Plenty Tough
UWM is set to play 13 games against teams that played in the postseason a year ago. The highlight of the home schedule is a visit by Wisconsin to the U.S. Cellular Arena Dec. 13. This will mark the second time the Badgers have played the Panthers at The Cell, and just the fourth time since UWM moved to Division I the Panthers and Badgers will meet in Milwaukee. In all, the slate includes a total of 16 contests against teams that won at least 19 games last season, while Milwaukee will see two teams from the Big Ten and two teams from the Big East. UWM will face Michigan State for the first-time ever Nov. 23.
Get Your Tickets Today!
Single-game tickets for this season's games are now on sale and are available through Ticketmaster. 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 Milwaukee Theater Box Office. 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. Plus, both of this season's Four-Pack ticket offers currently on sale include tickets to the game with Wisconsin.
UWM stays home and entertains SWAC Champion Texas Southern Sunday at 4 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Arena.