Milwaukee recovers from late mishaps, bests N. Kentucky, 80-75

Coach Lundy directs his troops during the fog of a vicious battle

Last night your Milwaukee Panthers earned a hard-fought victory against conference foe Northern Kentucky.

The home crowd of 1,598 was 500 more tha the last home game vs. IUPUI, but still far smaller than this team deserves*, but this crowd was louder than normal, and so it seemed like 2k+ were in attendance. And the Panthers gave many reasons for getting loud and cheering in a victory that almost wasn't.

The BJ Freeman and Ahmad Rand show kicked things off. Though Freeman doesn't currently start, he may be starting in future games- he is too productive to keep on the bench (unless his coming off the bench is a strategy).

Ahmad Rand (11pts, 5reb) collected a crucial block and repelled wave after wave of NKU attacks in the paint. Dunk after jaw-dropping dunk Rand catered nicely to the noticeably more engaged Panther Arena audience.

Lundy and Co. have given the (jaded, skeptical) Panther fan base a jolt of optimism (photo credit: Journal-Sentinel)

BJ Freeman (28pts, 7reb, 3ast) splashed three after three after merciless three. It was on from then on and the Panthers began to dismantle a bewildered Norse zone defense.

Kentrell Pullian (14pts, 8reb, 4ast) showed up and delivered in bigtime spots like always. Pullian has been invaluable this season- he plays like he is 6'8", 230lbs. Just an incredibly effective defensive and offensive force for us.

Justin Thomas (8pts, 6reb, 8ast) had a quiet but huge stat line.

The game can be summed up in a couple sentences: Milwaukee (12-5, 6-1) steadily compiled a 10-point cushion and rode that cushion all the way to the 9:30 minute mark in the 2nd half. In this late stretch of the game, we suddenly we went ice cold for a long stretch and Northern Kentucky got to within a single point.

Markeith Browning crosses over a Norse defender (photo credit: Journal-Sentinel)

But the Panthers, as they have quite often this season, quickly pushed the lead cushion back to 8-10 points. The Norse would never catch up and Milwaukee went on to a win their 6th conference game, 90-75. Milwaukee shot 48% from long distance (at one point late in the first half we were shooting 65% from 3! 👀).

Alas, just as we started to think the contest would turn into a rout of the Norse, our weakness- turnovers (22) 😔 started to pile up. We need to take better care of the ball or we'll never reach our full potential. Elijah Jamison can handle the ball and control the offense. Unfortunately, not many other Panthers have this ability. That's has to change.

FG,    FT,    3pt

38.7% 20.6% 62.5%

55.3% 47.8% 65.4%

Our signature floor-to-floor pressure D worked to great effect. The only thing NKU had left in their bag after being ground down by the racing pace was Trevon Faulkner (25pts, 4-9 from distance). We were fortunate enough to keep things isolated to just him as he bombed three pointer after three pointer, keeping NKU close. Let's hope we shut down Faulkner completely in the 1/28 rematch in Highland Heights.

If you are a Panther fan who hasn't been to a game yet, you are missing out on history


Well. How does it feel to be #1 and on a winning streak that could reach double digits? How does it feel to have a coach making the radio rounds and actively promoting the program?

BJ Freeman and Jalen Johnson reach for a rebound (photo credit: Journal-Sentinel)

For real folks, this is an entirely new Milwaukee program that is promoting the heck out of itself and establishing a winning culture that we haven't seen since '04-'05. The style of play is fast-paced and ball control is a work in progress. The offense has had some growing pains, but it's not all 1-on-1; Milwaukee has shown they can screen and run a coherent offense. The problem is, (and this will be exploited by better teams)- we've not shown the ability to run the offense with the regularity that something like the Big Dance would require..

The team is still learning. I hope by season's end, every move with the ball in a possession has a conscious purpose. And I know that's easy to say as an armchair PG, sitting in the stands or on my couch and not on the court battling vs. 6'5" monsters, gladiators, snipers and assassins on the floor.

I guess I just mean we need to clean things up and play a little sharper- or else (when it matters most...).

Pounce says, "where are my band homies at???" 😔

The crowd last night smallish, but seemed bigger than it was; for once, Panther fans were LOUD; this Panther team will do that. We need to keep growing Arena attendance. Let's hope we are up to 3k+ by season's end.

This '22-'23 Panther team is winning not just for themselves. They are a representation of Milwaukee students, Milwaukee alumni and everyone in the great City of Milwaukee. This representation is observed/experienced by others (potential students, which generate more $ for the Uni) at the highest level. No other sport (we've no football) is as visible as our men's basketball team.

Milwaukee has a short rest before taking on Wright State this Saturday at Panther Arena. We now have sole possession of 1st in the Horizon. The crowds will come. For now, it's just "us"; and that's OK.

Because right now the future is looking bright and the status quo feels excellent. 

*if you aren't already, get your behind to Panther Arena!

go panthers  
stack good days.