Milwaukee Bests Detroit in Overtime Thriller, Improves to 7-8 (2-2)

For the first time in over four years, I missed a Milwaukee Panthers Men's Basketball game (no radio, no TV, no updates, nothing!). I am a Northwestern Wildcat football fan as Milwaukee unfortunately has no football team and though I grew up as a Wisconsin and Northwestern football fan, my NCAA football (and innate underdog) allegiance has been with NU for some time.

In short- I was in Dallas at the famous Cotton Bowl stadium with my Dad (an NU alum) watching a Dan Persa-less Northwestern put up a strong fight against Texas Tech in the Ticket City Bowl (if that doesn't make sense, forget it- it's college football confusion... read on).

I can only report the few facts I have gleaned from ESPN, and and other box scores and reports. In short, your Milwaukee Panthers rang in the new year with an exciting win. Detroit may have folded a bit down the stretch to help get us this road victory, but this was by no means an easy one from all accounts. Our three point shooting was on fire in the second half and served as the main catalyst for this W.

We shot just over 40% from the field (and we won.. "hint, hint- read my last post"), and shot a heater-like 43.2% (16-37) on a non-stop barrage of 3's (and this, despite beginning the game 1-10 from the great beyond..).

No team wants to have a one-dimensional "hit 3's or go bust" strategy and we are no different. But on this afternoon- it got the job done in spite of several miscues that have cost us the W in many other games this season.

After a so-so first half and a hot-handed second, the Panthers found themselves down by 3 points with 10 seconds left and the ball in their paws. Kaylon Williams was spotted wide open and with just a single tick remaining on the clock, drilled his biggest shot as a Panther so far- a 3 (what else this game?), that sent it into overtime.

A Tone Boyle three with about a minute left in OT sealed it, and like the fresh start we were hoping for in 2011- at the end of the day when the players left the court, the scoreboard read 84-81, Milwaukee.

Unfortunately, this game did not see Ant (5pts, 4rbs) bust out of his minor slump (we have gotten to the point where we expect at least double from Mr. Hill- he has come a long way and this season is his final act!)- but Detroit's aggressive and talented big men were too much for Ant to get into much of a rhythm.

I'm not too concerned- have you seen a great Anthony Hill performance in the post? He ain't gonna disappear. I expect he'll be back to show Matt Howard who own's Milwaukee's Cell tomorrow night.

We may have a losing record now- but we are 1-0 in 2011.

Tone Boyle lead the Panthers with 24 points including a scorching 5-9 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the FT line. The Panthers actually put 5 players in double digits. In addition to Tone- K-Dub (17pts, 7 rbs, 4ast), Meier (11pts, 8rbs), J-Mac (15pts), and Big Boga (10pts) also tallied double figure scoring totals. It was a very good game for many players on this New Year's Day Detroit turnaround game.

As much as we did fight hard and got this victory- if we play like we did against the Titans (all 3's no post action and costly TO's) we would likely lose tomorrow night against Butler (we had 18 turnovers- TO's continue to harm us almost as much as our inconsistent FG and FT shooting).

But who knows? It's easy to be a hater and try to shoot down any dream. It's a lot harder to be an unconditional supporter of a Mid-Major program that is going to let you down a lot more times than a fan of a High-Major program could stomach and believe that this thing called Milwaukee Panther Basketball can actually take flight- and soar to once-familiar or even new heights some day.

I believe in it. I believe in them. Do you?