ESTERO, FLA. – The Panthers, after dropping the first game at the Gulf Coast Showcase by three to Murray State, suffered another heart-breaker, this one to Duquesne, 96-92, in a high-scoring overtime affair.
Milwaukee surrendered a four-point lead with two minutes to go in the extra period, and coach Rob Jeter elaborated on letting a chance slip away.
“This was a heartbreaker. To be up four with two minutes to go in overtime hurts,” he said. “We put ourselves in a position to win, but found a way to lose. This is a learning opportunity and we have to find a way to get better.”
Forward Matt Tiby had a career game for the Panthers, scoring 29 points. He had an uncharacteristically low total on the boards, finishing with just two rebounds. Swingmen Austin Arians and Akeem Springs picked up the slack there, finishing with a combined 13 boards. Arians and Springs also contributed 37 points between the two of them.
First-year point guard Jordan Johnson sure ran the offense well, totaling 13 assists to only four turnovers. He also chipped in nine points.
Milwaukee was able to open up a 37-27 lead during the latter part of the first half, but the Dukes closed with a 15-3 spurt to take a 42-40 lead into the locker room.
Duquesne continued the momentum into the second half, outscoring the Panthers, 21-11, in the first nine minutes. However, UWM would fight back, going on a 20-8 run to tie the game. Tiby keyed the run, scoring 12 of those points.
After going neck-and-neck after that, Arians knocked down a three to break a 79-79 tie. However, the Dukes would score the next five points to take a two-point lead. After that, forward J.J. Panoske hit a jumper with just under a minute left to tie the game. Neither team could get a go-ahead basket after that, forcing the overtime period.
Springs hit a pair of free throws and Tiby buried a three to turn a one-point deficit into a four-point lead for Milwaukee, but Duquesne took over from there, scoring the game’s final eight points. Four of them came from guard Micah Mason, who hit a layup to give his team the lead for good in the final minute.
Mason and fellow guard Derrick Colter combined for 53 points to lead the Dukes. In addition, Mason dished out nine assists.
The Panthers will play in the seventh-place game against Central Michigan, who lost in blowout fashion to Western Kentucky, 88-60.