Panthers Sweep UW-Green Bay, Begin Final Horizon League Push

The game this past Saturday was all that Panther fans could have asked for in the midst of a frustrating three game losing streak. After coming out strong and leading by a point going into break, the team found themselves down by as many 11 points with precious little time left in the second half. But, ignited by the slashing attack of Deonte Roberts, Marcus Skinner's absolute manhandling of the boards, and some crucial uplifting 3's from Deion James (16pts, 3-7 3pt), we prevailed, 66-56- and sent the thin-skinned hair gel-encrusted man humorously dubbed as the poor man's "coach k", a.k.a. Tod Kowalczyk, into a fitful tirade that he won't soon forget.

So alas, lately my day job has been taxing my time as of late, and I can't post much on this game (although it was probably the most exciting game (tip to buzzer) I have seen so far this year at the Arena). Highlights were on display all night- Skinner had a career high (and UWM 2nd highest ever) 17 boards, and 9pts. Deonte Roberts went OFF for his career high 17pts, many of which came off lightning-quick lane penetration (and steals!) that would make Derrick Rose proud!

Ricky Franklin (10pts, 5rbs, 5ast) shot much better in this game (10pts, 2-4 3pt), however Paige Paulsen (8pts) was almost completely shut down for the second straight game- although his 1-7 from the arc didn't help his night out (note this however- you cannot keep a good shooter down for long; watch out CSU!). I can't imagine what will happen if we can get everyone open and playing their A-game one of these nights (potential HL Tournament contenders, anyone?).

Only a fool would have predicted this team would have persevered through turmoil that way in which they have. I am proud to be one of those fools (along with a few fellow D-Board members). And this is in no way knocking the support of some others who were up in arms and calling for Jeter's overcoat- realists keep the idealists in check, and that my friends, is a very good thing (kinda like politics, know?). Criticism comes from those who care, not from those who would give up on you.

In addition, many of those folks who had all but given up on this season in early December '07 have seen a whole lot more (and witnessed a whole lot more embarrassing seasons of...) UWM basketball than myself and others who have only recently became tried and true "Panthers for Life". Every UWM fan deserves to be proud in the midst of this improbable, exciting turnaround. The tough questions, the bitter commentary, the confusion, and utter hopelessness only added fuel to this inferno. Thank you all for your interest in Panther Basketball; it's us fans who make the program what it is, what it aspires to be, and will be in due time.

'Tis a lot easier to be ridiculously optimistic like myself, when you are naive and ignorant of most program history pre-2001, the difficulty of being (or rather beating) an elite team in NCAA Division 1 Basketball, and many of the "little", lesser-known factors in the game of basketball that contribute to success. But be you a newcomer, or seen-it-all type of fan: we are all in this together, cheering for a common purpose (and cheering so much more now than earlier in the season!).

Next up is an all-too-important match-up at Cleveland State, just as 2008 Horizon League Tournament seedings began to flesh out. UWM has all sights set on a #3 seed which would guarantee a raucous tournament home game at the good ol' historic Arena downtown. Let's keep on taking care of business, as usual, or "unusual" as it may seem. Tune in to Time Warner Sports (Cable Ch. 32) at 6:00pm CST sharp!- this one could be huge.