The Milwaukee Men’s basketball team narrowly escaped Saturday night with a win against Wright State, seemingly just running out of time to complete the impressive comeback. The Panthers used an astounding 16 -0 run to overcome a 17 point deficit in the final 10 minutes of the game to force overtime. It became a back and forth game down the stretch and the Panthers were unable to land the final punch falling 84-82 on their home floor.
Ultimately the Panthers couldn’t undo their subpar first half performance. They only shot 34.8 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from the three point line the first half. Poor shooting and not enough defense led to a 13 point lead at intermission for Wright State.
“If we can redo that first 20 minutes, obviously, we would love to do that,” Head coach Rob Jeter said. “I just thought Wright State came out with a lot more toughness, energy and determination to get something done and that is how you have to play on the road. And we looked like things would come a little easier for us. We have to realize that is just not the case, especially in our league. However, I thought that the fight and determination that we showed in the second half to be down 17 and come back, I thought that was impressive.”
The second half was a different story. Behind 23 points and nine rebounds from Matt Tiby and 19 points and eight rebounds from Akeem Springs the Panthers ignited a 16-0 run to go from down 66-49 to ultimately leading in the ball game 69-68. Both teams traded blows before heading into overtime at 74 apiece.
In the extra session it was Wright State that scored the first four points and a go ahead layup with 1:16 remaining to squeeze by the Panthers by a mere two points.
“I am proud of the guys on how hard they fought to get back in this game and give us a chance to win,” said. “We’ve come up on the short end of these overtime games and we have to figure out a way to win those games. It comes down to getting stops at critical times, multiple stops, and it’s just alluded us this year.”
The Panthers (9-5 0-1 in Horizon league) look to bounce back Monday at UWM Panther arena against Northern Kentucky.