Milwaukee Bounces Back, Topples Wright State 67-61 in Overtime

Saturday night seems to be just what the Panthers (or the fans) needed. After a miserable home showing in the loss to Detroit last Thursday night, UWM came out well, pretty flat against the Raiders. Wright State went up by double digits very early in the game before the Panthers settled down and starting making a game of it.

The Panthers battled the deficit down to 31-23 entering the half, and let up only momentarily (allowing Wright State to force OT) the rest of the way.

Ricky Franklin (18pts, 7ast) and Deonte Roberts (18pts, 4rbs) both scored 18 points to lead all Panthers. The combination of Ricky and Deonte's lane attacks and Ricky's long range bombing really damaged the Wright State defense. Both guards drew very timely shooting fouls on Raider defenders at key points in the game.

James Eayrs scored 14 to go along with 4 steals (yes, the big man can play D). And Ant Hill recorded an impressive double-double (12pts, 10rbs). It's very refreshing (after almost zero post presence vs. Detroit) to see our bigs get back in the game and manage the post better.

Wright State's Troy Tabler scored 18 and Vaughn Duggin's chalked up 15, but it wouldn't be enough to drown out the Panthers. Brad Brownell's Raiders (11-8, 4-4) lost for the second straight game as they came up empty handed (read- swept) in their Wisconsin road trip.

This Milwaukee Panther team, however unpredictable from game to game is dang fun to watch when they play like they did this past Saturday. Several times that night the Cell came to life (or at least showed signs of a pulse!) in ways like it hasn't it years.

I think there are still a lot of people who haven't completely given up. They are frustrated at the lack of significant success since 2006, but they are (very quietly but sincerely) hoping for the Panthers to return to the perennial (national and conference) contenders they had become by the middle of this past decade.

So what is the next step in this crazy season? Milwaukee goes on the road for a pair of games against Youngstown State (Friday at 6pm CST) and Cleveland State (Sunday at 1pm CST) in Ohio. The Panthers matchup against the Penguins (7-10, 2-6) will likely be just as challenging as the following contest against the CSU Vikings (7-12, 3-4). Make no mistake (we lost a last-second heartbreaker in Youngstown near the end of the season last year), YSU is not going to roll over and give the Panthers the momentum they seek as this conference standings begin to solidify.

It won't be easy, but the stage is set (the opportunity is there) for Milwaukee to win a lot more basketball games before the smoke clears. There are 11 regular season conference games left and our home Bracketbuster game before anyone can start predicting how the League Tourney will shake out. That's 11 games that are all absolutely winnable. We probably won't win them all, but 11 games? Success has not gotten out of reach just yet.