Milwaukee Overtakes UALR 59-54, Improves to 5-1

In a road game that had many Panther fans on edge, your Milwaukee Panthers came out on top, 59-54. Some of us were on edge, not only because it was a road game, but because UALR won their division last season and appeared in the NCAA Tournament (something we "almost" accomplished last season, but haven't achieved since March of 2006).

But we were prepared, and we played with poise.

Free-throws continued to be a problem (11-21 for just 52%...), but our 3pt shooting was on fire (12-24 for a deadly 50%)- without our hot hand from beyond the beyond, we likely would have lost this one.

UALR kept it close throughout, thanks to some impressive post play by bench player Will Neighbour (15pts, 8rbs, 3blk). Chuck Guy added 9pts and 3stl and the Torjans as a team turned it over just 10 times (we turned it over 13 teams, which, while not too bad, is nothing to be proud of - it is actually our season low!! ....need to start getting those single digit TO games to keep on winning..).

Once again Haarsma was the bull leading our scoring charge (James had 17pts and 5rbs). Kaylon Williams (8pts, 7ast, 4rbs), and Kyle Kelm (11pts, 8rbs) and Ja'Rob McCallum added considerably to the winningn effort. We didn't score in bunches, but it was a slow-paced kind of a game. I have little doubt we'll score well over 60pts this Thursday- but I could care less if we score 59 again and just win.

This Milwaukee Panther team is off to it's best start 5 years. And I don't think it's a fluke. Ok, I'll concede it's a fluke and we are just another "middle of the road" mid-major if we get swept or even split with Loyola and UIC this coming Thursday (7pm) and Saturday (1pm) down at the Cell. But I don't think that will happen.

After these next two games, we will begin to see the percentages (FG, 3pt, FT, etc.) start to balance out and we'll begin to really see if this team is up to the grand challenge of holding the torch for the Horizon League in '11-'12. We managed to do that in a sort of 3-way-tie-ish way for the second half of last season. But let's show college hoops nation that we aren't just a good Horizon team- we are a good NCAA Men's Basketball team- period.

I listened to the UALR game on the radio (great call by Bill and Kevin once again), and that's about all I can take away- we are still on the right track. Sorry such a short post- I'll have much more to discuss after we get a feel for how this Panther squad will fare against fellow Horizon League foes (even if those foes will likely wind up in the bottom of the conference- heck, we almost lost to Youngstown State in OT in the last regular season game last season- nothing is guaranteed in this sport!).

By all means we shouldn't (and won't) be afraid of playing Loyola or UIC. But we also didn't appear too fazed playing MSU on their legendary home turf. Call us Krazy, but I think we should play with that same sense of belonging and chance to win when we play Wisconsin and Marquette in the coming weeks... and did I mention, by that time, we will have Tony Meier back?

We may have Tony back this Thursday night vs. Loyola. If it's not incentive enough to get down to Goolsby's and/or the Cell to see a team that has strung together an impressive 5-1 record without their best player who is likely to return Thursday, then there isn't anything that will ever get you out to a Panther game.

But if you still think this team is a second-rate red-headed step child forever destined to look out at UW-Madison like a dream that will never come true, it's your right to feel that way, even if it couldn't be further from the truth.

Some day in early 2012, you might be wishing you would have seen some of these games that you plan on "skippin". Get out and treat yourself and your friends and family to some great college basketball in downtown Milwaukee this week and weekend- you only live once.

Things are about to get very, very exciting.