The 3rd Man In

Mistakes hurt Milwaukee against in-state rival

Everyone knew it would be a tough matchup for the Milwaukee Panthers as they traveled to Madison to face the fourth ranked Wisconsin Badgers, but the way the Panthers showed up to play was a bit surprising. The Panthers (9-3) were handed the 78-52 defeat by the Badgers (11-0), ending their five-game winning streak.

In the first half the Badgers’ offense was on fire. Ben Brust led the way for Wisconsin as he scored 16 points in the half, making all six of his shots including four three-pointers.

The Panther defense had no answer as the Badgers shot 64 percent (16-25) from the field, including 69.2 percent (9-13) from long range in the first 20 minutes.

Wisconsin did an excellent job of driving to the basket, and then passing the ball outside to a teammate, which usually led to a wide-open look from behind the three-point line.

At the half, the Badgers had a very comfortable 45-25 lead over the Panthers.

“You can’t spot the number four ranked team in the country 20 points and then in the second half think you’re going to really cut into a team like Wisconsin,” said Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter. “They’re so disciplined, and we saw first-hand tonight all five guys can make shots. The way they were shooting the ball in the first half was impressive.”

While the team did not perform how many people thought they would, forward Kyle Kelm continued to produce at a high level. Kelm continues to impress in his final season as a Panther, putting up 17 points on 7-10 from the field, while grabbing four boards.

The Badgers defense was prepared for the Panthers as they held them to 42.6 percent (20-47) from the floor in this game, while only allowing them to make 35.3 percent (6-17) of their shots from behind the arc.

Although Milwaukee only took 17 three-point attempts, Wisconsin did a good job defending down low, holding the Panthers to 18 points in the paint.

“I thought defensively we did a good job of getting our hands on some passes and creating some turnovers,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “I thought we worked extremely hard in the post because we watched Robbie (Jeter) and these guys offensively against a lot of teams were they were getting a lot of stuff high and low, getting a lot of stuff in the post.

“So we knew we were in for a battle inside, and I thought our guys did a pretty good job of getting deflections and turning those into points. Those are huge.”

Wisconsin did do an exceptional job forcing Milwaukee to make mistakes. In the game the Panthers turned the ball over 19 times, which not only hurt them offensively but defensively as well.

The Badgers were able to capitalize on the Panthers’ mistakes, scoring 28 points off of the turnovers, which really changed the outcome of this game.

“As a result, we give up 28 points off 19 turnovers. That really sums up the game right there,” said Jeter. “We just didn’t have the opportunities that we needed to give ourselves a chance against a Wisconsin team.

“You turn the ball over that many times, you give up 28 points, that’s hard to overcome when they’re shooting the ball the way they did in the first half.”

Wisconsin cooled off in the second half as they finished the game shooting 50.8 percent from the field, while only shooting 38.5 percent from downtown. In the half, the Badgers struggled to make three-point shots, as they only shot 7.7 percent (1-13).

Tonight was not Milwaukee’s night. Although they faced a very good team in the Badgers, they committed too many mistakes, that hurt them in the end.

Milwaukee will now be off for more than a week, as they will not play again until December 21st when they face Northeastern, in their first game of the Holiday Western Classic.

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