Milwaukee splits non-con: loses to K-State 76-75, clips Western Michigan 71-63

Milwaukee @ Kansas State 12/11

The Panthers battled tough early against a Kansas State team that was coming off an embarrassing home loss to DII Ft. Hays State. After racing out to a 7-0 run Milwaukee was quickly taken out of the driver's seat as K-State reclaimed the lead and a 7pt lead with 14-0 run.

Milwaukee played tough against Kansas State, but their best is yet to come 

Milwaukee, led by DeAndre Gholston (15pts, 6rbs), Te'Jon Lucas (9pts, 11ast) Josh Thomas (10pts), and Grant Coleman (14pts, 6rbs) evened the score again quickly and the score remained within 2-8pts throughout. Many of the newcomers made memorable debuts (not just Grant Coleman) and got valuable experience. We were without C.J. Wilbourn who was finishing up COVID contact tracing protocol, and the game proved we really could have used another experienced Panther to win this game. 

While the final minutes suggested an easy 8-10pt Kansas State victory, with just 1 minute and 27 seconds left, Milwaukee crept back into the game to close a 7pt gap to just 1pt- K-State fouled Coleman on a 3pt attempt. Coleman showed poise beyond his years as he proceeded to knocked down all 3, bringing Milwaukee within 2pts.

And then- Lucas would have a shot at taking it to overtime after traversing baseline to baseline and getting fouled on a layup attempt. Lucas, a 79% FT shooter (last season) uncharacteristically missed the 1st and made the 2nd. Even then, with 8 seconds on the clock- Panthers seemed to obviously foul the ballhandler immediately after the inbound (with 5-6 seconds left), but no whistle came until 1.8 seconds, which was too little time to get the ball across the court and create any kind of realistic shot.

Coleman's inbound was intercepted near half-court by the Wildcats and that was it. Final score: K-State 76 - Milwaukee 75.

Milwaukee came up just short on a great opportunity to knock off a respected-if-not-at-their-best Big XII program on the road. Our performance, after not being able to practice for 10-15 days due to COVID, and some of the team actually having experienced COVID infection, was pretty impressive in the eyes of most.

We outrebounded the Wildcats and made more free throws than they attempted. Both teams shot over 43% from 3pt, which doesn't often happen. Kansas State put 5 scorers in double figures and were led by David Bradford who scored 18pts and 7rbs. The biggest difference was field goal percentage- Kansas State shot 55% and Milwaukee just 42% (our FG % was however, positively offset some by our many trips to the line). 

The Sunday match would eventually tip the winning scales our way.

Milwaukee @ Western Michigan 12/13

Several little mistakes combined to make this game as close as it was. The Panthers went up early and the lead reached 8 by half only to start evaporating around 6 minutes into the second half. As the second half wore on at Read Fieldhouse in Kalazmazoo, the Panthers seemed to be letting an easy win slip away.

We let the Broncos hang around with our interesting shot selection and lack of controlled/intentional ball movement and an aggressive off-ball offense. But fortunately for us, the Broncos were equally unfocused and so we remained in the lead.

CBJ had a diving save at the end that helped secure the victory and a timely triple with 1:06 remaining that sealed our control for the remainder of the game. Milwaukee racked up the first W of the season and defeated WMU, 71-63.

Milwaukee was lead by Lucas (16pts, 4ast, 4rbs, 2stl), Gholston (13pts, 6rbs, 4stl) and Wilbourn (11pts, 6rbs). Amir Allen added 8pts and 9rbs to round out the Panther attack. The Broncos relied on their starting 5 for the majority of their production. Greg Lee lead the WSU charge with 18pts and 8rbs followed by B. Artis White adding 17pts and Jason Whitens 16pts.

More than anything, our battling in the post for offensive and defensive boards probably won the game for us. Milwaukee outrebounded WMU 42-28.

Lucas had an off shooting afternoon (5-16); but he got to the line lots eventually and his leadership and steady poise at the line closed out this victory #1 for the Milwaukee Panthers.

And that wraps up the non-conference slate in this shortened season. Milwaukee (1-1, 0-0) next plays the Phoenix (0-4, 0-0) for a twin bill this weekend in Green Bay on Saturday and Sunday at 4pm on ESPN+.

go panthers
the future is now.