Jeremiah Bell and his 31 points were instrumental in the Panthers’ drumming of Detroit Mercy in the opening round of the Horizon League tournament, as Milwaukee torched their opponents, 85-60.
It was a game that the Panthers handled easily throughout. At the halfway point, they lead by 14 and pulled away by as much as 27 late in the second half. When it was all said and done, the team became to first-ever No. 10 seed to win a Horizon League tournament contest.
LaVall Jordan expressed great pride towards his players in his postgame comments.
“I am proud of our guys,” said Jordan. “In the first half specifically, we were as locked in as we have been all year defensively. Guys were sticking to the game plan and the scout; our communication was tremendous and our rotations were really good.”
He also highlighted the efforts of Jeremiah Bell, who finished with a game-high 31 points.
“This guy right here (Bell) was tremendous,” Jordan said. “We knew with their pressure it would open up some driving lanes and some opportunity and J.B. did a great job of finishing.”
Bell was not the only Panther who chipped in to the cause. Brett Prahl made his presence known with eight points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
As a collective team, Milwaukee made significant strides at the charity stripe. They got to the line and converted at a high rate of 80 percent (28-of-35). Coming into the game, they were below 65 percent on the year.
“We haven’t been a great foul-shooting team this season,” said Jordan. “But we talked about the way to advance, at this point of the season, is you have to finish around the rim and you have to make free throws.”
Defense was also on full lockdown. The Panthers held Detroit Mercy to just 34.4 percent (21-of-61) from the floor and outrebounded them by a 40-26 advantage. That was the largest margin of the season and the 60 points was a season-low.
Jeremiah Bell noted how the team held strong together and finished through the end.
“We were focused mentally going into the game as a team,” said Bell. “In the second half, we knew they were going to tighten up the pressure but we held our composure and played the game we knew how to play.”
For the Titans, Corey Allen led the way with 18 points.
The Panthers now take on No. 2 seed Valparaiso tonight at 7 p.m. in Detroit. The Panthers lost both games this season to the Crusaders, with the second matchup ending in a six-point loss back on February 21.