UWM, The Road Warriors?

Well, so far they have been in the month of January. The Panthers stunned the Crusaders (11-5, 2-2) in Valporaiso, IN, beating Valpo with a final scrore of 71-69 . The win extends UWM's winning streak to 6 games, and vaults them to third place in the Horizon League.

There are so many good things to say about this game, I don't know where to start. First off- the most impressive stat of the night is that of Deion James who went on a tear, hitting 4-6 from 3pt range and scoring a collegiate best 20 points for the Panthers. It was James' crucial 3 pointer to tie the game with under 2 minutes left which shifted the game's momentum in Milwaukee's favor.

Ricky Franklin hit a jumper under the 1 minute mark to push the Panthers ahead for good. Holding true to recent form, the Panthers converted the necessary foul shots down the stretch (14-17 on the night) to secure the victory. Another unbelievable occurrence- UWM had 4 (count 'em- 4!) players score in double figures (Skinner (13), Paulsen (11), Roberts (12), and James (20)).

Building on their oh-so-improved accuracy, the Panthers shot .529 (9-17) from the arc and .500 (24-48) overall. This team is playing so well together, it is almost unfathomable think that this is the same team who was massacred by the likes of Drake, MU, and UW earlier in the season. Well, in reality, this isn't the same team.

Torre Johnson, Roman Gentry, and possibly Tim Flowers and Kevin Johnson (still no official word from Jeter on these two) have all left the team. But, quoting the old cliche "addition by subtraction", the current mix of players this chaotic season has whittled the team down to, is apparently the best mix possible. I can't contain my pride for this school and this group of players.

They have had every reason to throw in the towel, but they staunchly refused to give up. They overcome a gauntlet of obstacles to get where they are at, and although a very challenging match-up with Butler awaits the team on Saturday (1:00pm on TWS Ch.32, just before the Packers/Seahawks game- watch this game!), I do believe, they have just gotten started.