MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – The Panthers got their second road win over a Big Ten opponent to close out the non-conference schedule, as Milwaukee knocked off Minnesota, 74-65, at Williams Arena.
The road squad used a huge second-half rally that included a 12-3 run to turn a two-point deficit into a 10-point lead late in the game. Coach Rob Jeter talked about responding to adversity.
“It was just what we needed,” he said. “We have had some tough losses this year. Our four losses might total up to 13 points. We have always found a way to bounce back after a tough, emotional loss and tonight was big for us to do that in a place where we were hoping to play well.”
Junior guard Jordan Johnson had another big game over a team from the power conference, as he nearly tallied a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds while playing much bigger than his 5-9 frame may suggest. Johnson led the Panthers in all three of those categories.
Senior forward J.J. Panoske was very productive as well, finishing with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and was an eraser on defense, finishing with five blocks. All five UWM starters finished with double figures. Panoske also had a key dunk that helped spark the second-half spurt. Jeter went further on his starters’ effort, focusing on Johnson.
“Not only Jordan, but I thought each guy had a key moment at the right time – a big rebound, a big shot, a big stop, a big drive to the hoop, highlighted by Jordan’s performance – he was phenomenal,” he said.
Milwaukee shot very well from the field, particularly in the second half. The road squad finished with a 50.8 percent clip, including a torrid 57.7 in the second half. In addition, the Panthers outrebounded the Golden Gophers, 41-31.
The solid shooting and work on the glass enabled UWM to jump out to a 11-point first-half lead and take a five-point bulge into halftime.
Guard Carlos Morris paced Minnesota with 24 points, and forward Jordan Murphy finished with a double-double, totaling 16 points and 10 rebounds.
UWM led or was tied with the home team for all but 22 seconds in the game, and has now beaten two Big Ten opponents in the same season for the first time in program history. Jeter talked about the tough non-conference slate.
“Looking at our schedule I was a little nervous,” he said. “I thought early we really put ourselves in a difficult position. We scheduled a few too many games in a row, too early from coast to coast. But we have a veteran group and figured that would be our saving grace.”
Milwaukee returns to action after 10 days off on Jan. 2, 2016, opening Horizon League play at Panther Arena against Wright State. Tip is scheduled for 3 p.m.