Panthers Open Home Slate With Upper Iowa
Nov. 20, 2005
Game #2 - Upper Iowa (1-2) at Milwaukee (0-1)
Monday, Nov. 21 - 7 p.m. CST
U.S. Cellular Arena (10,783) - Milwaukee, Wis.
Radio: WOKY, 920 AM (Bill Johnson, play-by-play)
Internet: Live audio and stats available at www.uwmpanthers.com
Tickets: Available at all Milwaukee-area Ticket Master outlets, by phone at 414-276-4545 or online at ticketmaster.com. Also available at the U.S. Cellular Arena box office prior to the game.
Series Info: First meeting
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team kicks off its 2005-06 home schedule by welcoming Upper Iowa to the U.S. Cellular Arena Monday night. The game tips off at 7 p.m. The Panthers are looking to even their record at 1-1 after losing at #12 Memphis last week.
Opening Up At Home
Milwaukee will be looking to extend a five-game winning streak in home openers when it takes the court against Upper Iowa Monday night. The Panthers haven't lost a home opener since 1999, when Wisconsin claimed a win at the Klotsche Center. Since moving back to the Division I ranks in 1990, Milwaukee is 12-3 in home openers, including 5-2 in home openers played at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
Making A Nice Home
Milwaukee has started to turn the U.S. Cellular Arena into one of the best homecourt advantages in college basketball. The Panthers will start the 2005-06 season with a modest nine-game home winning streak, which started after UWM was stunned by Detroit in early January last season. The Panthers are 23-4 in regular season and postseason contests at the U.S. Cellular Arena since returning downtown for the 2003 Horizon League Tournament and are 74-56 all-time as the home team at the Arena. Also, combining games at both the Klotsche Center and the U.S. Cellular Arena, UWM is 40-6 in regular season Horizon League home contests over the last six seasons.
Being In Charge At Home
Rob Jeter will be making his regular-season home debut as the Milwaukee men's basketball coach Monday night. Panther coaches are 9-10 in their home court debuts over the years, and Jeter will become just the second UWM head coach to ever make his homecourt debut at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Ric Cobb beat Illinois Tech, 101-63, at the Arena in his debut as coach in 1995.
Scouting Out The Upper Iowa Peacocks
Upper Iowa, an NCAA Division II school, is playing its second of three games against Division I foes this year. The Peacocks lost to South Dakota State, 84-56, in an exhibition contest earlier this month. Next Sunday, Upper Iowa will play at Northern Iowa. In the regular season so far, the Peacocks are 1-2 and are coming off a home overtime win Saturday. Nick Larson leads the team with 17.7 ppg while Eric Ritter adds 14.0 ppg.
Last Time Out
Memphis lived up to all of its preseason hype in claiming a 79-52 win over Milwaukee Tuesday night in the NIT Season Tip-Off. Two extended stretches of great play did in the Panthers. Memphis jumped out to a 31-12 lead in the first half, only to see the Panthers rally to within eight points with 14 minutes remaining in the game. But, Memphis' second run - a 21-6 burst - gave the Tigers a 23-point lead and UWM could never recover from there. Rodney Carney and Shawne Williams scored 17 points apiece to lead Memphis, which limited the Panthers to just 22.2 percent shooting from the field. Joah Tucker led Milwaukee with 23 points.
Long Night From The Field
The size and athleticism of Memphis made it difficult for the Panthers to get off many quality shots Tuesday night, and it showed as Milwaukee shot just 22.2 percent from the field. That is the second-lowest shooting percentage in a game in UWM's Division I history. Milwaukee shot just 21.7 percent in a loss to Illinois in 2000. The Panthers also made just 12 field goals, tied for the fewest in a single game in Division I school history.
One area the Panthers did find great success in Tuesday night was in getting to the foul line. Milwaukee made 26-of-34 from the charity stripe, including a 10-of-14 effort by Joah Tucker. While the number doesn't make UWM's Division I record book, the 26 made free throws are the fourth-most made by the Panthers in the last two-plus seasons.
A Starring Role
Senior Joah Tucker has had plenty of accolades heaped upon him heading into this season. Against Memphis Tuesday night, Tucker showed he is ready to live up to those expectations. Tucker scored a game-high 23 points and got those points in every way possible. He scored in the post, drew enough fouls to reach the foul line 14 times and even knocked in a three-point basket. Dating back to last season's stellar postseason run, Tucker is averaging just short of 25 ppg in his last six outings.
Catching Your Eye
Sophomore Avery Smith entered preseason practice looking at redshirting in the upcoming season. Instead, thanks to a strong run of play in practice and a breakout performance in the second half against UW-Platteville, Smith earned his way into the playing rotation. Tuesday against Memphis, Smith scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds off the bench. His play has likely earned him a regular role in the Panther rotation, and means true freshman Kaylan Anderson will likely redshirt this season.
Looking Toward The Future
Since the Panthers took the floor last Tuesday night, two players have signed national letters of intent to join the Milwaukee program next year. Leneal Harris of Milwaukee, Wis. and Charlie Swiggett of Chester, Pa., both signed with the Panthers. Harris is entering his senior season at Milwaukee King High School, while Swiggett will play this season at Notre Dame Prep in Worcester, Mass. Harris, a 6-foot-1 guard, was an honorable mention all-City Conference selection last season at King. He was a reserve on the second of King's two-straight WIAA Division 1 state championship teams during his sophomore season. This season, King is the top-ranked team in the state and Harris is the eighth-ranked senior in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook - one of three players at the school rated in the top 10 in the state. Swiggett averaged 10.3 points per game and earned second-team All-Delaware County honors at Chester High School, which won a Pennsylvania state title last year. He started his high school career at American Christian, averaging double figures as a freshman. He then moved to Village Charter for two years, earning all-area honors while averaging 15.1 ppg as a junior. When the school closed after his junior year, Swiggett went to Chester. An athletic 6-foot-1 guard, he is expected to be a starter at Notre Dame Prep this season, one of six Division I signees on the school's roster.
Cleaning Up Some Game Times
There have been some minor adjustments to a handful of game times for road games during this season. The Nov. 28 game at Tennessee Tech will begin at 8 p.m. CST, rather than the 7 p.m. start time that was previously announced. Also, the Jan. 5 game at UIC will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. instead of 7. Finally, in a move already announced, Milwaukee's game at Green Bay will begin at 3 p.m. and be televised on ESPN2.
Summing Up The Exhibitions
Milwaukee claimed a pair of wins over in-state foes during the exhibition season, beating UW-Parkside 69-46 and UW-Platteville 63-47. In those two contests, UWM limited its two opponents to just 35.3 percent shooting from the field while forcing 35 turnovers. In the opener with Parkside, the Panthers held the Rangers scoreless for the first six-plus minutes of the first half and again for nearly six minutes in the second half. Against Platteville, Milwaukee tallied 13 steals. In all, the Panthers allowed only 46.5 points per game in the exhibition season. Offensively, the Panthers showed off a balanced attack, as four players reached double digits against Parkside and three more did so against Platteville, all without anyone scoring more than 12 points. UWM also got 34 points off the bench against the Rangers and the bench added 15 points against Platteville.
An Overview Of The Panthers
Plenty of familiar faces will take the floor when the Panthers open their home season Monday night. Milwaukee returns four of five starters and eight of its top 10 letterwinners from a season ago, when the Panthers went 26-6 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Joah Tucker, Adrian Tigert, Chris Hill and Boo Davis are the returning starters, while Mark Pancratz, Jason McCoy, Derrick Ford and Allan Hanson all return after contributions off the bench last season. There are seven newcomers on the roster, with Kevin Massiah, Tyrone Young and Avery Smith all possible contributors during the 2005-06 campaign. There is also a new face on the sidelines for Milwaukee, as Rob Jeter moves from his associate head coach position at Wisconsin to take the reigns of the Milwaukee men's basketball program.
UWM will field one of the most experienced lineups in the country during the 2005-06 season. Chris Hill, Adrian Tigert and Joah Tucker will all pass 100 career games during the season, with Tigert topping the charts at 91 appearances and 90 starts. The three have combined for 239 appearances and 193 starts in their UWM careers, while Tucker also played one season at Bradley. The average age of UWM's four returning starters stands at 22 years and 10 months as this season gets underway . And, with senior Jason McCoy penciled in as the fifth starter, the Panthers likely have one of the oldest lineups in the country.
Starting A Streak
Milwaukee's experienced lineup includes two players who have extended streaks for being in the starting lineup. Both Adrian Tigert and Joah Tucker have started 64 consecutive games, which is tied for the seventh-best active streak in college basketball. Research by STATS shows Gerry McNamara holds the longest streak in the nation, having started 104 straight games through Saturday night.
Sweet Numbers Return
With four starters and eight of its top 10 letterwinners returning for the coming season, UWM has plenty of proven scoring and rebounding this year. In fact, the Panthers return 69 percent of their scoring and 79 percent of their rebounding from a year ago. The scoring numbers are the fourth-best tally among Sweet 16 teams, while the rebounding numbers are second-best to Villanova.
UWM was officially picked to win the 2006 Horizon League men's basketball championship in a poll of the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media members, the league office announced last month. The Panthers received 37 of a possible 43 first-place votes in tallying 379 points to easily outpace the field. Detroit was a clear choice for second with 326 points while Loyola was picked for third with 269 points. Wright State (226), Butler (206) and UIC (199) were more tightly bunched in the four, five and six slots with UW-Green Bay, Cleveland State and Youngstown State rounding things out.
Senior Joah Tucker was voted the Horizon League's Preseason Player of the Year in that same poll of the league's head coaches, sports information directors and media members. That earned Tucker a spot on the Preseason All-Horizon League First Team, while Adrian Tigert and Boo Davis were each named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team. The three players honored in the preseason are the most for the Panthers in school history, and no other team had more than one player honored this year.
Just about every publication on newsstands is touting the Panthers to win the Horizon League this season. Lindy's Basketball, Athlon Sports, Sporting News College Basketball Preview and Street and Smith's College Basketball 2005-06 Yearbook all selected UWM as the league champion, while CBS Sportsline.com College Basketball picked the Panthers to make a return trip to the NCAA Tournament and reach the second round. Meanwhile, the website collegehoopsnet.com has been counting down the top 144 teams in the country and the Panthers recently checked in at number 35. That also rates them as the favorite in the Horizon League, with Detroit the next league team in the rankings at number 87.
Plenty Of Other Player Honors, Too
Many of those same publications are having good things to say about a number of Panther players, too. Lindy's Basketball selected Tucker as the league player of the year and named him the 10th-best small forward in the country. The magazine also selected senior Adrian Tigert for the league's preseason second team, while tabbing junior-college transfer Kevin Massiah as the league's newcomer of the year. Tigert also received accolades as the best rebounder in the league, while Tucker was cited as the league's best NBA prospect. The Sporting News College Basketball Preview honored three UWM players, with Joah Tucker picked as the Horizon League Player of the Year, while Boo Davis and Adrian Tigert are each picked for the All-League Second Team. Tucker was also named the preseason player of the year by Athlon Sports and CBS Sportsline.com College Basketball, while CBS also placed Tigert on the all-league second team.
Doing The Mid-Major Thing
The Panthers open the season ranked fifth in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Top 25, receiving one first-place vote. The Panthers finished second in the poll last season. Gonzaga is the top-ranked team this season. Meanwhile, senior Joah Tucker was named one of 25 preseason mid-major All-Americans.
Scheduling Against Success
Milwaukee has put together a 2005-06 schedule that will see the Panthers tested against a number of team used to success. After the opener with Memphis in the NIT Season Tip-Off event, Milwaukee will then play at least three games against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago while meeting up with at least three squads that won league titles last year. Among those highlighted matchups are contest with NCAA qualifiers Wisconsin, Montana and Oakland, as well as a road game at Ohio Valley Conference champion Tennessee Tech. The home slate also includes a contest with Hawai'i, picked as high as second in the Western Athletic Conference.
Busting The Bracket
UWM will play a home game in the fourth-annual ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday event, which this year will include 100 teams from 18 conferences. The event is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 18, with 11 of the games designated as official Bracket Buster contests and those games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. The Panthers are one of three Horizon League teams that have been a part of the event from its inception in 2003. In fact, UWM has played on national television in each year of the event. Last year, Milwaukee traveled to Honolulu and claimed an 87-81 win over Hawai'i on ESPN2.
The Ticket Situation
Season and single-game tickets for all of UWM's regular-season home games this season are on sale now. More than 1,300 season ticket packages have been sold - an increase of nearly 50 percent from last year. Packages begin at $100 and are available through the UWM Ticket Office. Single-game tickets are also on sale through Ticketmaster, with prices ranging from $10-$20. Group and flex-pack tickets are also available through the UWM Ticket Office. Groups of 20 or more can receive special discounts and in-game recognition. Flex-pack tickets provide fans the opportunity to create their own ticket packages, with six tickets available for the price of five.
More People In The Stands
UWM has been setting attendance records for the last six seasons and it is looking like this season will be no exception. UWM won the league attendance title a season ago, averaging 5,066 fans per game. That also placed UWM in the top 100 for attendance nationally and allowed the Panthers to post the 24th-best attendance jump in the country. The crowd of 10,783 for the league title win over Detroit also set a single-game UWM record. The attendance climb for UWM has mirrored the success on the court. In the season prior to Bo Ryan's arrival on campus, UWM averaged 1,487 fans per game. The next year, UWM averaged more than 3,000 per game and the numbers have grown every year since.
Topping The Charts
UWM has enjoyed record-breaking success over the last few seasons and, in the process, has cemented itself as the top program in the Horizon League. In fact, over the last four years, the Panthers are 51-13 in regular season Horizon League contests. The standings for the last four seasons:
W L Milwaukee 51 13 Butler 41 23 UIC 40 24 Detroit 39 25 Wright State 31 33 Loyola 31 33 UW-Green Bay 29 35 Cleveland State 15 49 Youngstown State 12 52 A Little Background
The 2004-05 season was likely the best in school history, with the Panthers tallying a school-record 26 wins and advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. UWM posted two extended winning streaks last year - a streak of 11 games that included the NCAA Tournament and an earlier streak of eight games. The Panthers also opened the season with six-straight wins. Milwaukee won its second-straight Horizon League regular season title, posting a 14-2 mark in league play. That number set a school record, and gave UWM a four-game margin in the league standings, the largest by a Horizon League/MCC champion since UW-Green Bay won by four games in the 1995-96 season. The Panthers also claimed their first win in 11 seasons over a Big Ten foe and swept UIC and Butler for the first time in school history. Plus, the NCAA Tournament wins included the school's first win over an SEC school, the second over a Big East team and just the second and third wins over ranked foes in school history.
A Championship Feeling
Milwaukee won its second-straight outright Horizon League regular season title last season, another step in the incredible progress of the program. UWM had never won a regular season Division I league title until last season. In fact, prior to winning the 2003 league tourney title, UWM hadn't won a basketball title of any kind since winning the 1960 Wisconsin State Collegiate Conference title. Last year's league regular season and tournament titles give UWM 11 in the 109-year history of men's basketball at the school. Seven of those crowns came in the WSCC, which was also known as the Wisconsin Normal Conference and the Wisconsin State Teachers College Conference, while the other four (two regular season and two tournament) have now come in the Horizon League. Last season's crown is also just the fifth outright regular season league title in UWM basketball history.
The Panthers return to action in one week, traveling to Cookeville, Tenn., for an 8 p.m. contest with Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles won the Ohio Valley Conference last season. Milwaukee's next home game is Dec. 3 against Saint Louis. That game also begins at 8 p.m.