The 3rd Man In

Badgers roll past the Panthers

Milwaukee Panther fans packed into the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday evening, for the Panthers highly anticipated matchup against the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers in hopes of seeing Milwaukee pull off a shocking upset in arguably their biggest game in program history.

However, they quickly realized why the Badgers are regarded as one of the top teams across the country.

The Badgers overwhelmed the Panthers all night with their size, athleticism and talent, blowing out Milwaukee 93-54 to move to 9-1 on the season.

Frank Kaminsky scored 18 points and Sam Dekker added 17, as the Badgers shot a season-high 60.9 percent from the floor including 50 percent from three-point range.

“We know we can shoot,” Kaminsky said. “We didn’t shoot well against Marquette. We came out here and shot the lights out.”

The Panthers struggled to make shots, while getting destroyed in the paint defensively, dropping their record to 4-6 and 0-4 against high major programs this season.

Wisconsin was coming off of a sloppy 49-38 victory over the Marquette Golden Eagles last Saturday, and Panther head coach Rob Jeter knew that the chances of the Badgers having a second consecutive poor performance were slim.

“It’s what you worry about as a coach, when you see a team like Wisconsin struggle as much as they did their last game out and you know they’re much better shooters than that, you just hope you’re not that next team where it all comes together,” Jeter said. “That’s what it seems like happened tonight. It really came together for them.”

Despite the final outcome of the game, the Panthers kept the game relatively close for nearly the first 10 minutes of play, trailing by six points with 10:27 to play in the first half.

From there on, the Badgers began to pull away, going on numerous scoring runs to take a 45-24 lead at the half behind Dekker’s 15 points.

“You’ve just got to pick your spots when you see openings to attack and be aggressive,” Dekker said. “The one thing I need to get back to doing is playing my game and being aggressive again.

“I thought I had a pretty good matchup there to get in the post and my teammates did a good job of recognizing that.”

The second half wasn’t any better for the Panthers, as the Badgers picked up right where they left off in the first 20 minutes of play.

After shooting 56.3 percent in the first half, Wisconsin seemed to make nearly every shot they threw up, making 65.6 percent of their attempts in the second half.

“It was nice to see the ball go through the net,” Badgers head coach Bo Ryan said. “We made some shots today that we were not hitting Saturday. Good ball movement, I thought our guys really shared the ball well.”

Milwaukee struggled to get anything going offensively in the second half, as Wisconsin went on a two 10-0 scoring runs.

“I really felt for (Jeter) in that second half when things just weren’t going right,” Ryan said.

Matt Tiby scored 17 points and pulled down five rebounds to lead Milwaukee.

The Panthers finished the game shooting only 34.6 percent from the field and 37.5 percent on three-point attempts. They turned the ball over 14 times, which led to 22 Badger points, while also getting outscored in the paint 46-18.

“Tonight, every mistake we made they capitalized on,” Jeter said. “That’s what the Badgers do.

“And then when they’re making shots on top of it? I don’t know the last time I’ve seen a Badger team score 93 points – and I was on the sideline a few of those years.

“They did it tonight. They shot the ball well.”

Milwaukee will look to bounce back from this loss when they welcome Montana to the Klotsche Center on Sunday with tipoff set for 5 p.m.

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