The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee embarrassed on home floor

It seemed like tonight’s game was over before it even started. After winning their first conference game earlier this week against Youngstown State, the Milwaukee Panthers (11-5, 1-1) got demolished against the Cleveland State Vikings (9-7, 1-1) losing 77-49.

Although it was not pretty the Panthers still had three players in double figures. Jordan Aaron led Milwaukee with 14 points, while Matt Tiby had 13 and Steve McWhorter finished with 10.

In the first half Cleveland State came out on a mission. From the opening tip they completely dominated on both sides of the ball, as they started on a 6-0 run. Milwaukee remained scoreless until the 15:38 mark when McWhorter laid the ball in for a basket. This did not give the Panthers a spark though, as the Vikings continue to control the game.

The Vikings seemed to hit any shot they through up in the half as they shot 58.3 percent (14-24) from the floor including 50 percent (4-8) from long range, while the Panthers made a disappointing 30 percent (6-20) of their shots.

The final 20 minutes was the same story for Milwaukee. While people would have thought they would come out of the locker-room with some energy, the Panthers continued to be overmatched.

Milwaukee had their opportunities to cut the lead, but they could never get their deficit to less than 12. At times when it looked like the momentum was switching towards the Panthers favor, the Vikings went on another run to extend their lead.

Cleveland State ended tonight’s contest by scoring 17 of the final 21 points, as Milwaukee did not score in the final 6:40.

The Panthers offense was never able to develop a rhythm, as the Vikings defense was too much for them to handle. Cleveland State played full-court press most of the night, while at times double-teaming the ball handler.

“Cleveland State is a very good team, very aggressive on defense,” said McWhorter. “They forced me to have four turnovers tonight – that’s unacceptable being the point guard. They do get into you. We knew what kind of team they were. They came out and punched us, and we just couldn’t get a rhythm”.

This caused the Panthers to turn the ball over 15 times, while shooting a disturbing 27.9 percent (12-43) from the floor, and zero percent (0-16) from behind the three-point line.

Cleveland State also outrebounded the Panthers 35-24.

“We just could not get going in any part of the game tonight and that had a lot to do with how they pressured, how they play, and how tenacious Cleveland State is,” said head coach Rob Jeter. “I thought they played the best I’ve seen them play in a long time.

“For us, we just couldn’t figure out a way to get going. We’ve had some tough stretches in games, but it’s been stretches. For 40 minutes, we just could not figure out a way to get going. This is a great learning experience for our team.”

Up next the Panthers will hit the road to face Oakland University this Wednesday night.

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