After an upsetting loss against Concordia-St. Paul on Day 1 of the Black and Gold Shootout, Milwaukee regained confidence on offense to get a 66-51 victory over Florida International at the UWM Panther Arena on Saturday night.
“The loss last night was the greatest motivator,” said UWM head coach Pat Baldwin.
“I hate losing, and I know our guys hate losing. I’m a huge competitor, and I just think that wasn’t us last night. We certainly have to come with that energy every night, and if we do, then I think we will be in a position to win or be in ball games.”
Bryce Nze showed up big for the Panthers with 17 points and nine rebounds. The near double-double was the story all night, as Nze took to the post and created opportunities early.
Nze scored just seven points on 2-10 shooting from the floor in the Panthers Day 1 loss. Nze finished on 7-11 in Saturday’s win.
The sophomore/starting forward spoke on his mindset during the game.
“Like every other night, just try to look out for my team,” said Nze.
Fellow teammate in the paint, Brett Prahl complimented Nze’s 17 with 15 points. Prahl also grabbed six rebounds. The duo scored 11 apiece in the first half.
“I think we have great chemistry,” Nze said of Prahl.
“We know what each of us wants to do. First of all, we want to put the ball on the rim, and if it’s not there, I know he’ll find an open spot where I can find him and hopefully, he can find me as well. A lot of practice together, everytime we’re just looking for each other.”
The Panthers got going in the game early, making several runs and finding hot spots on the floor. Milwaukee found an edge at the three, shooting 53 percent on 9-17.
Jeremiah Bell contributed 11 points off the bench, going 3-6 from deep.
Jeremy Johnson connected from deep on 2-4 for eight points on the night.
Leader of the night Bryce Nze hit one beyond the arc at a shot-clock buzzer at the beginning of the second half.
Consecutive scoring efforts gave the Panthers a 13-2 run down the stretch. The Panthers gained the largest lead of the night of 18 in the second half.
Milwaukee shot 48 percent to FIU’s 35 percent to upset the opposing team.
Eric Lockett finished with 23 points for FIU, scoring 14 of those points in the second half. An all-around effort from the Panthers gave them the advantage.
Milwaukee sits at 1-1 in the Black and Gold Shootout. The Panthers will close out the classic against Elon on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. following the FIU vs Concordia-St. Paul game at 1:00 p.m.