Despite their lead being chipped down in the final minutes of play, the Milwaukee men’s basketball team was able to sustain their lead and held on to a 72-67 victory over Jacksonville University Wednesday night at the UWM Panther Arena.
The Panthers got out in front by as much as 13 points and led for the majority of the second half. A 12-2 Milwaukee run built the lead to 41-29 and a 3-pointer from Brock Stull maintained the 12 point lead with 8:52 to play. However, the Dolphins never waved the white flag, remaining in the game and slashing the deficit to single digits in the closing moments.
With under six minutes to go, the Panthers grasped onto a 60-50 advantage. But Jacksonville made a run of their own, connecting on three consecutive free throws and put in another bucket, slicing the lead to just five. But Jeremiah Bell, a spark off the bench, responded for the Panthers with a drive through the lane for a 62-55 lead.
Despite the resilience, Milwaukee bent; but never broke. It was the mantra of the night. Jacksonville made another late run with a little over a minute to go, as a three from Cody Helgeland made it a one-possession game.
The teams then traded turnovers. Milwaukee was then able to reel in an offensive rebound with 19 seconds left, leaving it to shots at the charity stripe to secure the victory. Bell did just that, going perfect on two attempts and later mixed in two more to complete the final score of the game.
Head Coach LaVall Jordan was proud of how his team responded in the crucial moments.
“They [Jacksonville] didn’t quit fighting, give them a lot of credit,” Jordan said. “We got up, we have to learn how to play with the lead and some things you just can’t simulate in practice. I thought our response was terrific.”
For the Panthers, Brock Stull led four players in double-figures with 17 points. He hauled in 11 rebounds for a double-double. Jeremiah Bell came off the bench with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Cody Wichmann added 14 points, three of which came from a first-half buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the corner.
Bell was not the only major contribution off the bench. Dan Studer set career-highs in points and rebounds with a near double-double of 10 points and seven boards. Together with Bell, the two built a 36-10 advantage in bench points for the Panthers.
It’s back to the road grind for Milwaukee, as they begin December with four road games. Their first stop will be at Montana, which is set to be played at 8 p.m. CST Saturday.