Tensions Boil Over

Well, the officiating crew this past Saturday night vs. UIC (Bruce Benedict in particuliar) apparently have something against Rob Jeter and the Milwaukee Panthers. Yes, the Panthers played rather poorly with the 9 available players they have left in Saturday night's, 63-55 loss at the US Cellular Arena. Yes, there were many calls at the end that were indeed legitimate fouls (but yet still drew the ire of UWM's tiny yet LOUD and passionate student section as well as on every side of the court).

But that fact of the matter is this- someone like Bruce Benedict (a "seasoned veteran" of the officiating business), who allows the chanting and jeering of a few students get under his skin and cause him to skew calls in favor of another team (UIC) and to not think clearly, does not deserve to referee at the college level. Period, point, blank. No one would have said "boo" if this was a fairly called game and UWM simply lost- that has already happened several times this season. But this game was just downright painful to watch (in terms of the officiating and the game play).

UWM had no answer to Scott VanderMeer (17pts, 13rbs) what with big-man Marcus Skinner still sidelined. So while VanderMeer was free to score seemingly at will down, the Panthers shot a woeful 18-58 (.310) from the field (7-30, .233 3pt), which only compounded their problems.

That pretty well sums up the loss; it's not too often I give no mention to at least one Panther player who had a good game, but I can't find anyone to congratulate in this one- we played downright awful for most of the game. Ok, I give in, newcomer (-er newcomer to playing significant minutes) Jason Averkamp continued to impress with 11pts and 8 boards and Ricky Franklin contributed 10pts and 3rbs.

While the UIC contest didn't even mean much (it determined whether UWM would play someone like Youngstown State or Loyola- after the loss, they are slated to square off against the Ramblers on Tuesday night), it still was a game that could have given the Panthers a winning mark on the season, instead the team dropped one game below .500 to 14-15. Well, "get over it"... so they say, right? I am, and I hope other fans who had to stomach that surreal exhibition of college officiating will too. We've got to get focused on winning some games in the Horizon League Tournament.

If the Panthers lose to Loyola, that's a wrap- the season is over. However, a win continues the team's hope against hope. A win tomorrow night might have a domino effect... I sure hope my next post won't be the last for this season. If the Panthers can figure out how to make something out of the little they have left, I think they might have enough gas to at least turn heads a bit before this is all over.