As the Horizon League Tournament starts for basketball, the UW-Milwaukee men’s basketball team has some things to celebrate despite being ineligible for post-season play.
First was the regular season Horizon League awards handed out. Senior guard Steve McWhorter and junior forward Matt Tiby earning Second Team All-Horizon League team honors. It is the first time since the 2005-06 season UW-Milwaukee has put two or more people on the All-Horizon League teams.
The all-around leader McWhorter put up a career year in his final collegiate season, leading the team in scoring, assists, and steals. He averaged 14.2 points, 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 4.7 rebounds per game. His final game for Milwaukee was memorable. He went off for 18 points, two rebounds, three blocks, seven assists, and a steal.
Tiby started off the season slow, but kicked into high gear when Horizon League play stated. He put up an average of 13.3 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season, but increased that to 15.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game in conference games. Tiby was also the Panthers emotional leader, letting his voice be heard by teammates and opponents alike all season.
The other positive was their hot end stretch of the season. The Panthers went 7-2 over the final month of the season, including four straight wins to end the season. McWhorter, Tiby, JJ Panoske, and Akeem Springs scored in double figures for three of those games.
With only McWhorter and senior guard Evan Richard graduating, the depth of the Panthers returns for next season. Freshman Justin Jordan, sophomore Cody Wichmann, and junior JR Lyle are set to get more playing time after contributing major minutes throughout the season. This is in addition to the return of junior Austin Arians, who sat out this season on a medical redshirt for a foot injury, as well as the transfer of guard JayQuan McCloud, the freshman guard from Murray State.
As their season ends, the Panthers have a lot to celebrate, but also a lot to look forward to next year, when their APR ban is up, and are eligible for the postseason once again.