YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – Spring has come early for the Panthers. On Thursday evening against Youngstown State at the Beeghly Center, junior guard Akeem Springs torched the Penguins for a career-high 33 points and seven rebounds in only 32 minutes. Led by Springs’s effort, the Panthers cruised to an 81-65 victory and their second Horizon League win of the season.
The Panthers roared out of the gate to start the contest behind three three-pointers from Austin Arians that helped ignite a dominating 20-2 run in the first half. The team went on to make eight three pointers in the half and go up on the scoreboard by as many as 20 points.
“We were fortunate to come on the road and shoot well,” Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. “Most road teams don’t shoot as well as we did and I think our scoring run early in the first half gave us some confidence.”
The night, however, belonged to Akeem Springs. His 14-of-18 field goal shooting ranks fourth best in single game field goal percentage of all time. His fourteen makes rank number one on that list. That 20-2 run in the first half? Springs scored 13 of those points and had already netted 21 by halftime. Throughout the game it just seemed like Springs made his presence felt at all the opportune moments such as nailing a three pointer in the first half to cap a run that put the Panthers up by 21 points.
“He’s been really consistent and it wasn’t just three-pointers, he was really hiding beneath that zone – doing a lot of things – getting some rebounds,” Jeter said. “I was really impressed with how he played and we asked him to guard one of the better players in this league.”
Springs wasn’t the only one to play a great game Thursday night. Austin Arians scored 14 points, JayQuan McCloud had a season-high 13 points, and Jordan Johnson seemed too get everyone involved with 10 assists and only one turnover.
The Panthers (11-5, 2-1 Horizon League) will look to continue the momentum on Saturday afternoon at Cleveland State. Tip is set for 2 p.m.