The Panthers men’s basketball team suffered a brutal 74-56 home loss to the visiting University of Illinois-Chicago Flames.
The Panther Pit was full to the brim with black and gold, but the student section’s energy was not enough to propel the team to success.
UIC struck first, showing lots of fight right out of the gate. Jeremiah Bell responded quickly with the first points for UWM, off of a pretty pass from Brett Prahl, while the Flames shot very well from beyond the arc early. Brett Prahl tried to keep up by netting a three-pointer of his own, but it would not be enough down the stretch for the Panthers. Bell also tried to carry the load offensively for UWM early in the contest.
As the first half went on, the Panthers were no match for UIC on the defensive side of the floor. They managed to keep the score relatively close throughout the first half, despite their very apparent struggle defensively.
The Flames began to play relentless, pestering defense late in the first half. They were constantly at the hips of the Panthers. Jeremiah Bell was the only offensive threat for UWM, scoring an impressive 15 points in the first half, doing so while also shooting a very high percentage of 67 percent from the field in the first half.
The Panthers continued to keep the score reasonably close, even though UIC converted 7-12 from downtown in the first 20 minutes. Four steals in the half for the Flames were also an integral part to their successes on the other end. The deficit was not insurmountable at the break, with the Flames leading 41-30.
Brock Stull scored the first bucket for UWM to open the second half.
The Panthers struggled greatly matching up with the athleticism and length that UIC possessed. Early in the half, UWM had several careless and lazy offensive possessions, costing them points on the other end of the floor. The Flames had no trouble continuing to fire and hit from three-point land in the second half, while the Panthers seemed to have no energy in the second 20 minutes of the ballgame. As soon as UWM had a bit of momentum, UIC stifled it immediately.
The hometown Panthers tried to chip away at the large lead, but the last seven minutes and 18 seconds scoreless from the field did not serve them well.
Overall, the only bright spot for UWM in their ugly 74-56 home loss was Jeremiah Bell, scoring a team high 17 points.
Bryce Nze contributed an impressive double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, which is his second straight coming off a big game against CSU.
The Panthers look to clamp down defensively and spread the wealth in scoring on Friday night, when they host in-state conference rival UW-Green Bay at Panther Arena.