Panthers storm back in final minutes and OT to vanquish Grizzlies


Panther fans, we won again in the late second half of a game after looking likely to lose by double digits all game. And an unlikely star in Vin Baker, Jr. rose to the challenge to get the mo' rolling that eventually secured this 12th conference victory which brings us to 1/2 game behind Youngstown State.

This game showed causes for concern and worry everywhere from the start. BJ Freeman (15pts, 8reb) was accurate from 3 and the free throw line but off everywhere else (6 TOs). Ahmad Rand (16pts, 6reb, 2blk), Justin Thomas (13pts, 9reb, 6ast) and a rejuvenated Baker, Jr. (16pts, 6reb, 2blk) kept the deficit at or below 10pts throughout the first half and early second half.

Vin Baker, Jr. pulled this Panther victory back from the jaws of defeat (Photo: JS)

But Milwaukee (18-8, 12-4 Horizon) couldn't cut into the lead. Every time the Panthers closed the gap to 7 or 5, Oakland's Blake Lampman or Tre Townsend would can a triple to stretch OU's lead out further again.

Justin Thomas and BJ Freeman played 41 and 42 minutes respectively, and both were highly productive; JT has been picking up a lot of Keith's minutes and it is nice to not see much if any drop-off in our roster depth.

Oakland's Trey Townsend, Moore (crafty little ^%$&^%) and Lampman put forth a furious offensive push in the first half that saw the Panthers down 10 entering the break. The second half began much that same as the first. But with 9:55 seconds remaining in the game, a BJ Freeman mid-range jumper sparked our final surge.


These '22-'23 Milwaukee Panthers are a special team; they call themselves a brotherhood (Photo: JS)

A 4th(!) thundering Ahmad Rand slam tied things up at 75-75 with 1:30 left. Neither team could score in the final seconds and so things went to free hoops time. Oakland's usage of only 6 players all game allowed Milwaukee to wear them down considerably. And the Panthers had a good supply of energy left for the extra time.

Neither team could capitalize in the first couple minutes of OT- Oakland (11-16, 9-7) bricked 3 or 4 times after securing several offensive boards. And then, just when we needed it most, BJ Freeman, true to form, set up and calmly knocked down what would prove to be this game's dagger. Milwaukee went on to yet another comeback victory, 80-77.

Next up is probably going to be the team's most difficult regular season conference game. They play at conference-leading Youngstown this Thursday at 6pm. Game's on ESPN+ and 101.7 FM The Truth, as always.

This resilient team does not quit and seems to save their best bursts of basketball for the final minutes of games when the score gets snapshotted to determine winners and losers. It's great to be a winning team again, huh? I am seeing people at Panther Arena and Goolsby's I haven't seen in years.

Let's keep this great thing rolling. 

go panthers  
stack good days.