The Panthers continued their play at the Cable Car Classic Saturday night in California with a win against Lipscomb to improve to 2-0 on the season. Unlike their first game of the season which featured big scoring chunks from Austin Arians and Matt Tiby, the Panthers used a more balanced approach offensively with four players reaching double figures to help the team squeeze out a narrow victory, 71-65.
Similar to the first game of the season, both teams started out poorly offensively. They struggled to get into rhythm heading into the first media timeout. A layup from junior Jordan Johnson sparked a 12-5 run from the panthers eventually pushing the Panthers to a 26-19 lead before Lipscomb had a 22-8 run of their own to take a 41-37 lead heading into half time.
In the second half it was Johnson once again that was the igniter of an 11-0 run for the panthers to push them to a seven point lead. Johnson finished the game with 12 points (5-for-8) and a few boards along with senior J.J. Panoske who had a game of his own with 12 points and a career best 15 rebounds.
“J.J. was phenomenal tonight,” Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. “He was playing against a guy that was 20 pounds heavier but just outworked him for rebounds. We always knew J.J. could score, but getting rebounds has been that missing piece for him and tonight he was phenomenal.”
Lipscomb continued to fight hard in the second half however, trading the lead with the Panthers as each team went on runs throughout the half until senior Matt Tiby laid in two of his 12 points with his defender fouling him as well. After netting his shot from the charity line the Panthers were up 70-65 and didn’t look back with only a few seconds remaining.
“This was a gut check for us and we made enough plays to win,” Jeter said. “I’m really proud of the guys and how they’ve handled adversity so far this season.”
Lipscomb only shot 28.1 percent from the field in the second half.
The Panthers conclude their play at the Cable Car Classic on Sunday against Santa Clara as they seek their first 3-0 start since 2011-12.