Milwaukee underestimates Green Bay, pays price


No way around it- we got smoked in our own Arena in front of thousands..

Well Panther fans. That was the exact opposite kind of performance we wanted to show the season high 2,400+ fans at the Arena last night.

Apparently, the team forgot an old axiom yesterday and counted a chicken (win) before it hatched. It was.... in the best words that can describe this loss: a brutal shock to sky-high opinion of this season's team. We got embarrassed. We could not have played more unserious against a team that played ferocious at times, fearless at all times and made this game their championship. One Green Bay player announced shortly after the game, "This is OUR city!!!" in reference to the Phoenix cooking us on our home court. 😳😑

Things got off to a rocky start with a series of Panther turnovers in the opening 2 minutes and everything went progressively downhill from there. We are good enough to not get blown out by UWGB at least (small consolation), but we should be able to win this game by 15 points 99 times out of 100. And we lost- 2x!- in regulation and in overtime.

FG,     3PT,     FT

39.4%, 38.1%, 75.0%

40.8%, 29.0%, 66.7%

No matter how you spin it, this was a horrendous loss. At 3-22, 2-12 Horizon, Green bay ranks #361 out of #363 NCAA Division 1 teams. We had a lot of people (casual basketball fans) last night who were there because they couldn't ignore the recent publicity of the school and city's team on a hot streak. But I'm not sure so many of those same fans will be back this season.

If we still had the HLT Semifinal and Championship at campus sites, then yes, we would see much bigger crowds still (only way we'll pack it to 11,000 again). Our best chance is Cleveland State (regular season finale) or perhaps the first round HLT game if we wind up playing one- maybe we'll see 3 or 4k if we go on a streak and stop losing games we should win (ie. win all remaining games other than on the road at Youngstown).

But we may be back to ~1,200 fans for a while, just a fair warning to not be too let down by things like that. I hope I'm wrong. Regardless, what matters is not the number of people attending our games but the winning of those games. We've done quite a bit of winning this year, which is what brought last night's crowd- which included a particularly sizeable (though not so boisterous) Milwaukee student section.

It has been said elsewhere, we have been slowly regressing since the thrilling home victory over Youngstown State. All of our wins since have been very close games. And all games since we can remember have featured the Panthers not playing as well in the first half as they do in the second half.

Last night the perfect storm of coaching miscues, ineffective man defense and frigid shooting combined to sink the S.S. Panther which had been riding pretty high in '22-'23 before this bigtime wakeup call.

If not for a way-off shooting night, we may not have gotten this necessary wake-up call

And for posterity's sake, let's get "the call" out of the way. Coach Lundy took full responsibility for this loss and his decision to not foul Green Bay when we were up by 3 with just 10 seconds left in regulation. It's refreshing to hear this kind of candor that is so rare these days; just hoping we don't make similar own-goals when it matters much more (bench tech's, inability to match up our players effectively, etc.)

Green Bay's Tucker, Wade, Ziegler and Heffner led the brunt of GB's attack on Milwaukee. Our leader didn't get too many Panthers to follow and made mistakes himself. Freeman scored 28 and handed out 5 assists but it hardly mattered for a team out to lunch at 7-8-9pm. No one player or set of players can win the champ chip on their own. And the only thing that really matters is winning with the goal of a champ chip. Individual accolades are often a side-effect of, not the cause for winning- they are certainly more meaningful and memorable to the player if earned on a "winning" team.

There is one last aspect of this game that contributed to the deeply dispirited Panther fan base afterwards. We all saw the Phoenix bench screaming and hollering for each other every single play. At the same time, our home team Panthers sat silent on the bench, apparently upset at minutes or something off-court, and not shouting much if any support for their teammates. This was a tremendous letdown- and betrays any sense of comradery that we thought already existed for this group.

As fans we assume the team, despite their differences, to respect, cooperate and root for each other and know that their chemistry can make or break a season.

I hope we move on, get more familiar with what got us to last night's fairly buzzing Panther Arena environment, and make the city take notice again. For a while, early on last night, that was pretty cool.

Next up is Detroit, this Thursday at 7pm.

go panthers  
stack good days. 


Unknown said…
Outstanding summary. Makes me feel like I was there even though I would have been walking out disappointed with a few thousand fellow Panther fans.