The Panthers came out with a double-digit win of 66-55 over Youngstown State in a gritty rematch at the UWM Panther Arena on Thursday night.
It was a run in the final minutes that got the job done for Milwaukee, although the scoring effort was there all night. Milwaukee moved the ball and got out in transition, making several consecutive baskets from the start.
“I’m proud of our guys and their effort,” said Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin. “To me, this is two straight games where we gave a lot of energy and fought really hard.”
After YSU put the first five points on the board with a two and a three, Milwaukee responded for a 13-7 lead.
Bryce Nze and Jeremiah Bell finished with 17 apiece. Both Panthers were instrumental in the offensive surge, with Bell scoring 15 of his total 17 in the second half and Nze making moves in the paint.
Brock Stull was one point shy of double-figures with nine points and led the team with seven rebounds and seven assists. August Haas contributed with eight points, and added four assists and one steal, which happened late in the second to give Milwaukee a spark.
Garrett Covington led the Penguins with 15 points. Naz Bohannon added 13 points.
Despite shooting over 50 percent, Milwaukee led at intermission by just two, and YSU took advantage with nine straight baskets out of the half to tie the game 42-42. UWM turned the ball over 18 times and missed 14 free throws during this stretch.
Milwaukee paced a lead back up to 42-34, but YSU once again responded to cut it within one at 48-49. The back and forth continued until the steal by Haas shifted the momentum and gave the Panthers an edge.
Bell then netted two free throws and a three. A layup by Carson Warren-Newsome and an and-one play by Nze followed as a part of a 14-0 run.
The Panthers limited the Penguins to 31 percent overall from the floor and beat them 42-24 in points in the paint and 39-29 in rebounds.
Last night’s win matches last season’s total wins at 11.
Milwaukee welcomes Cleveland State to the UWM Panther Arena for a Saturday matinee at 1 p.m. Saturday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports Wisconsin.