Rocky Mountain crash landing

Colorado did their best to gift us this game, but we gave it back in the final minutes during a CU 12-2 run.

Your Milwaukee Panthers started out rocky in the Rockies, but so did the Colorado Buffaloes. DeAndre Gholston did not start but returned to the lineup nevertheless and came off the bench just a few minutes into the game. Jordan Lathon (14pts, 3reb, 3ast) and Joey St. Pierre (8pts, 8reb) were the first Panthers to get things rolling. Pierre collected several crucial boards, scored some impressive putbacks and was a solid post presence for most of the game, but especially in the first half.

Both teams struggled to find the hoop in the first 15 minutes after a brief 5-0 Panther lead, but eventually Colorado struck first. The Buffs stretched out to a 7pt lead before Milwaukee reigned things back to 4pts at half, down just 28-24 entering the break.

In the second half, the game began to show all the makings of a big Horizon-over-PAC 12 road upset with the Panthers controlling the tempo and "maintaining" a deficit of only 2-5 points for the majority of the game time. But as you can see from this brief player performance breakdown, stats, and Gamecast© graphic- we were not on our A game.

J2 had his best offensive performance as a Panther to date last night.

Lathon fueled the Milwaukee offensive attack shooting 4-6 from beyond in only 24 minutes of action. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (12pts, 5reb) made an impact but had an off night offensively that probably cost us the game. Baldwin Jr. hits just a few more shots and we'd have won this game.

It has been suggested that maybe Baldwin himself is responsible for not getting open shots and/or that the team cannot get him the ball enough for open looks. We are not coaches or sports experts of any kind though we do a funny job of pretending, eh? I trust the coaches and PBJ himself to figure out how to utilize him best but alas-

Last night, getting him more shots would not have mattered, PBJ was as cold as ice shooting 3-13 on overall field goals.

Coach Baldwin said in the post-game interview, "I think sometimes [Patrick] was settling a little bit on the perimeter. But that's on us; we've got to put him in position to make some quicker decisions. He's going to bounce back from this – I don't worry about that."

DeAndre Gholston (5pts, 3 rebs) also did not play as well as we are used to seeing. Some of that may have been rusty legs and/or lost confidence from not starting (we can assure Dree- he should have all the confidence in the world- he's one of the best and strongest guards in the country).

Coach added, "They did a good job on our two leading scorers," Baldwin said. "[DeAndre is] going to be fine. Those two guys will bounce back."

The tale of the tape.

Josh Thomas scored 8pts on an efficient 4-6 from the field and played great defense but didn't play as comprehensively well as he does say, against more pedestrian defenses. JT did still manage to cut, slash, slice and gash his way to the cup in the second half, scoring on some plays that were truly highlight-worthy and extremely difficult and skilled roads to the hoop.

The final 4 and a half minutes were a gigantic disappointment to put it mildly. The Buffs' Jabari Walker, who until this ending point in the game had been effectively silenced by an increasingly stingy Panther D, went off, stealing the ball from Baldwin Jr. en route to an And1 in transition on the other end. Walker thus sparked a decisive 12-2 Colorado run which shut us down for good and handed the home team the lead, 65-54.

Make no mistake- Colorado's defense was not giving away shots to us last night. Our loss was a combination of our horrible shooting and continued offensive play-running struggles as well as a relentlessly close-as-clothes Buffalo defense.

A big silver lined takeaway is that Jordan Lathon, in the second consecutive game showed true poise as PG and confidence as a shooter. In fact, he should be allowed to shoot from anywhere if he's "on" and can feels he can sink 4-6 from the perimeter.

And as excited as I am about the game Lathon had last night I was more impressed by his near miss at an assists/rebounds dub-dub last game. We have a lot of scorers. We only have a select few who have excellent court vision and the handles to support that court vision.

Currently, our leading passer is Donovan Newby at 2.6 assists per game. We need to boost that number up closer to 5 and get other Panther passers involved more (outside of Lathon at 2.5ast/game and Newby at 2.6ast/game nobody else even averages 2ast/game). We aren't passing the ball effectively or nearly enough.

Having a true point guard will go far with this talented team. I think Lathon is almost there. Newby seems there already and can play SG or PG. And the rest of the team will follow close behind to the best of their ball handling and passing capabilities. Ball movement is contagious.

The story of the game, in a graphic.

Lastly, we need production from everyone out there- from guys who play 10 minutes to the few who play 30+. We have more than a few "trillion" or near-trillion stat lines virtually every game so far that are not helping the team. Take advantage of every second.

Panther fans, we'll have to put this L quickly in the rear view and turn all focus toward Rhode Island who comes to town for a game downtown Monday at 7pm. It'll be a chance to get this ship turned back around (like the RMU victory)- but this time, keep this ship on the winning path for a while and blaze through the conference slate.

A big winning streak is all that can salvage a winning record and save the season. Our conference is entirely about winning the Horizon League Tournament in early March. It is the only route to the NCAA's for Horizon teams in the current state of the conference. And the HLT, lest we forget as we lose more and more of these winnable games, has seedings that are based on conference season results.

We need to play fearless and win in bunches in conference- Rhode Island is the second-to-last "tune-up" before every game counts much more and incrementally shapes the 2022 HLT seedings.

Reset. One win at a time. Let's go beat the Rams.

go panthers
take back the future.