Friday, February 26, 2010

Updated Scenarios

Here are the updated tournament/tiebreaker scenarios following Butler's win over Valpo.

I have eliminated those that no longer apply, and also added a few more that I have discovered.

I still can't promise I have it 100 percent, but I think we're at least close.

If Green Bay, Valpo and Milwaukee tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #3 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Valpo would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Wright State, compared to 1-1 for the other two)

If Green Bay, Valpo, Cleveland State and Milwaukee tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #3 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Cleveland State would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Detroit)
Valpo would be the #6 (0-2 vs. WSU, compared to 1-1 for the three others in the group)

If Valpo, Cleveland State and Milwaukee tie at 10-8
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Cleveland State would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Detroit)
Valpo would be the #6 (0-2 vs. WSU, compared to 1-1 for the two others in the group)

If Milwaukee and Valpo tie at 10-8
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Wright State)
Valpo would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Wright State)

If Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland State tie at 9-9
Detroit would be the #5 by virtue of 3-1 record vs. the other two teams
Milwaukee would be the #6 (2-2 vs. group)
Cleveland State would be the #7 (1-3 vs. group)

If Milwaukee and Detroit tie at 9-9
Milwaukee would be the #6 (1-1 vs. Wright State)
Detroit would be the #7 (0-2 vs. Wright State)

If Milwaukee and Cleveland State tie at 9-9
Milwaukee would be the #5 (1-1 vs. Wright State)
Cleveland State would be the #6 (0-2 vs. Wright State)

Tournament Seeding Scenarios

Tournament time is always a fun time of the year, but somehow every season trying to figure out Horizon League tiebreakers brings on a full-blown migrane headache.

But, we still have to try to do so, even though three and four-way ties loom. So, here is every scenario uncovered at this point for UWM's seeding. Some of these will be eliminated based on the results of tonight's Valpo/Butler game, as VU will be 11-7 and uncatchable by UWM if it pulls off the upset tonight. These are only UWM's scenarios -- I have not worried about who wins any other ties at this point.

If Green Bay, Valpo and Milwaukee tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #3 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Valpo would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Wright State, compared to 1-1 for the other two)

If Green Bay, Valpo, Cleveland State and Milwaukee tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #3 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #4 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Cleveland State would be the #5 (0-2 vs. Detroit)
Valpo would be the #6 (0-2 vs. WSU, compared to 1-1 for the three others in the group)

If Detroit, Milwaukee and Cleveland State tie at 9-9
Detroit would be the #5 by virtue of 3-1 record vs. the other two teams
Milwaukee would be the #6 (2-2 vs. group)
Cleveland State would be the #7 (1-3 vs. group)

If Milwaukee and Detroit tie at 9-9
Milwaukee would be the #6 by virtue of 1-1 vs. Wright State
Detroit would be the #7 (0-2 vs. Wright State)

If Milwaukee and Green Bay tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #4 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #5 (1-1 vs. Detroit)

If Milwaukee, Cleveland State and Green Bay tie at 10-8
Green Bay would be the #4 (2-0 vs. Detroit)
Milwaukee would be the #5 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Cleveland State would be the #6 (0-2 vs. Detroit)

If Milwaukee and Cleveland State tie at 10-8
Milwaukee would be the #5 (1-1 vs. Detroit)
Cleveland State would be the #6 (0-2 vs. Detroit)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WBB Top Moments of the 2000s - Part 7

The 2008-09 season did not go as the Panthers had hoped and they found themselves playing in the Horizon League Tournament First Round. For a team that had grown accustomed to hosting quarterfinals games, this was not a welcome sight. Despite that, Milwaukee made the most of its opportunity.

As the No. 7 seed, UWM hosted No. 10 Youngstown State and handily defeated the Penguins, 70-49. The game was a good set up for things to come. Milwaukee had just closed out the regular season at first-place Green Bay two days prior and, if UWM was to make the most of the tournament, it wouldn’t have much rest over the course of the week.

And make the most of the tourney, the Panthers did…

Two days later, playing at No. 2 Butler in Indianapolis, Milwaukee was trailing 52-42 with just under three minutes remaining. All the Panthers did was score the final 11 points of the game and win 53-52. They made the most of their opportunities down the stretch and capped off with a Traci Edwards lay-up with 8.8 seconds remaining. Butler’s final opportunity resulted in an off-balance jumper and Milwaukee moved on. Lindsay Laur was a key contributor in the run, scoring the first five points and grabbing the final rebound as the game ended.

With as much excitement as one team can handle, the Panthers returned home late Wednesday night after the game, only to load up a new bus Thursday and head to Green Bay. UWM faced a semifinal showdown with No. 3 Cleveland State at the Kress Center.

Now, let me ask you a question: If I told you the Vikings would score the first 14 points of the game and only three Milwaukee players would score, while the rest of the team combined to go 0-for-10 from the field, what would you think?

To be honest, I’d be happy with the run to the semifinals and have expected the season to be over with, unceremoniously, in Green Bay. But, that’s not what happened, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.

Cleveland State did jump out to a 14-0 lead. But, the Panthers answered with a 14-2 run and knotted the score at 21-21 with five minutes remaining in the first half. A comeback like that is noteworthy in and of itself, but it does not end there.

A minute and a half after tying the score, UWM took the lead for the first time and never relented. Riding offense from Traci Edwards, Ashley Imperiale and Lindsay Laur, the Panthers stormed past the Vikings, 63-57.

Edwards and Imperiale scored 24 points apiece and Laur added 15 as the trio accounted for all 63 of the team’s points. While those three held down the scoring, the rest of the team still did their parts. Markita Barnes dished out 10 assists and had seven rebounds, nearly accomplishing the first assists/rebounds double-double in school history. Jodie McClain added five assists, compared to just one turnover.

Milwaukee’s fateful run ended two days later in the championship game, but it was an impressive run, none-the-less. Milwaukee played five games in eight days, winning three-straight in a five-day span and doing so with inter-state travel between each.

The Panthers were the first team in league history to play in the first round and make it to the championship game. They were also just the second No. 7 seed to make the title game.

As the 2009-10 season winds down, it looks like UWM could be playing in the league first round again, but this year, the Panthers know what is possible.

Monday, February 22, 2010

All-Decade Teams...

A few days have passed since we announced the Milwaukee Panthers All-Decade Teams for men's and women's basketball.

The winners were announced and honored at The Cell. We handed out the plaques and gave away posters Saturday.

We also had highlight videos to accompany the release of the honorees. You can catch them here:

MBB Decade Of The 2000's: Random Thoughts

How about this name for a blog entry … miscellaneous memories?

There have been a ton of things bouncing around in my head over the last couple of weeks for the next direction to go in when it comes to our rundown of some of the great Panther men’s basketball moments from the last decade. So, in true notebook fashion, we’ll go all over the map with a few items.


All of the NBA Dunk Contest festivities a week ago had Bill Johnson and I talking about memorable dunks in recent Panther history. There’s no way to go back and ensure we aren’t forgetting one, and I suppose if we can’t remember it, maybe it’s not all that memorable. But the best three we came up with were …

Ed McCants at Detroit – If you have ever seen this 2004 dunk you know which one I’m talking about. The TV replays show fans in the end zone running for the exits in amazement as he completes the jam on the runout. It is the best dunk I have ever seen in person.

Derrick Ford vs. Butler – This was in the 2006 league title game … a follow-up dunk that brought the house down at The Cell. I love the pictures of the bench reaction right after the play.

Boo Davis at Youngstown State – This was in January of 2005. It was one of Boo’s typical, super-athletic, open court throwdowns. It made the score 5-0, and Bill Johnson insists it effectively ended the game. I can’t disagree based on the reactions of the YSU players, and the fact that the final score was 65-42.


Another great debate also came to mind with more of the NBA All-Star Weekend, and that’s just who is the Panthers’ best three-point shooter of the decade. The candidates are pretty clear to me – Jason Frederick, Ronnie Jones and Clay Tucker from the early days, Ed McCants and Boo Davis from the middle of the decade and then Paige Paulsen and Tone Boyle here late in the decade.

Both in quantity and quality, it would be hard to argue for anyone besides Ed being the best of the decade. He played only two seasons but made over 200 threes, and his three-point shooting was often a game-changer. Clay was a much better three-point shooter than you might remember, though his worst season statistically was his final season. Ronnie wouldn’t be happy if he didn’t get a further mention – 10 three-pointers in one game means you are doing something right. And, honestly, don’t sleep on Tone’s shooting abilities. They’ll wind up spreading over two decades and last season his percentages came down late in the year because of injury, but with the players UWM will have spreading the floor next season, he just might make a run at 100 3’s in a single season.

Mentioning Paige is a reminder UWM has had some good shooting “big” men, with the long-range efforts of Dylan Page and James Eayrs also noteworthy.


BracketBusters weekend had me thinking of the intriguing matchups the Panthers landed by participating in the event, but none moreso than the trip to Hawai’i in 2005. For the travel party, it certainly has to rank as the most memorable non-league game the Panthers played in the decade. A four-day trip to Hawai’i in February? Where do I sign up again?

A sidenote – another great non-league trip and great game came in a return BracketBusters contest, when UWM went to Manhattan just after Christmas in 2004.

But beyond that, it was a great weekend for the program. Just landing the game had given UWM plenty of headlines because of the unique nature of the trip. Then, as the team awoke in paradise Friday morning, it was prominently featured in USA Today. Saturday’s game was not only entertaining and an impressive win, but it was a primetime 7 p.m. CT contest that probably was the most-watched UWM regular-season game in history. Finally, with a full Sunday in Honolulu before a late-night departure, a team that would eventually make remarkable school history got to enjoy a little bit of a place far, far away.


Finally, I’ll admit Saturday had me thinking of another list I really want to make … worst calls! But I’ll try really hard to let that one go.

I will keep posting great moments entries into March, so keep checking back for more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Behind the Scenes With UWM Basketball

Everyone comes to see what happens on the court, but no UWM athletic event can go on without all of the people working behind the scenes. For the Panther basketball teams, two of the most recognizable voices are the people who call the games on the radio - Bill Johnson for the men’s team and Scott Warras for the women’s team.

Johnson (pictured at left) is in the middle of his 11th season as the play-by-play voice of Panther men’s basketball. He also serves as the host of “Rob Jeter on Basketball,” a weekly one-hour talk show with the head coach on WISN, and “The Rob Jeter Show” on Time Warner Sports.

Warras (pictured at right) is in his fourth season as the play-by-play voice for Milwaukee women’s basketball. Not only is he behind the microphone for each and every game, but he also hosts the “Sandy Botham Radio Show” and the “Sandy Botham TV Show”.

This month, we decided to take some time to get to know both of them a little better, having them sit down with the UWM sports information office for an interview session:

Where did you get your start in the sports play-by-play business?
Bill Johnson: “I started out doing color for UW-Stevens Point football games on the campus TV station. Later in Point, I did American Legion baseball from historic Cub Manczevski field. When I started with WAUK, I did high school football and basketball, even a few of Jason Frederick’s games at Waukesha North. Jason Clark actually called WAUK looking for another guy to talk about the Milwaukee play-by-play job. I’m glad that I talked to him first.”

Scott Warras: “I started in broadcasting at Wisconsin Lutheran College, my alma mater, back in the fall of 2002. The first game I ever called was a Wisconsin Lutheran College football game at Adrian College (MI).”

What do you do when not working for UWM?
BJ: “I work full time for Good Karma Broadcasting on 540 ESPN. I do morning sportscenter updates and an evening talk show called “The Game” with Steve Haywood.”

SW: “When I am not working UWM games, you can find me at Newsradio 620WTMJ here in Milwaukee, where I serve as producer for “Midday with Charlie Sykes”; Wisconsin Lutheran College, where I’m the Broadcast Coordinator and football play-by-play announcer; and Time Warner Cable Sports 32, where I call games for their coverage of high school, college, & semi-pro contests year round.”

What has been your favorite game memory with the Panthers?
BJ: “First game ever. At Central Michigan. Clay Tucker, game-winning three as time expires. A celebration in front of a stunned crowd. I loved the first four minutes of the Sweet Sixteen game with Illinois too.”

SW: “My favorite game memory in my four years with the Panthers has to be the one-point victory at Marquette on New Year’s Eve of 2008. Considering the drama of Ashley Imperiale coming off the bench to shoot two free throws in place of the injured Turquoise McCain, with only 3.6 seconds left and her team down one point. The fact that Coach Botham had never beaten Marquette in her tenure up to that point, plus all the rivalry aspects of the ranks #1 for me!”

What led you to choose radio as a profession?
BJ: “I don’t know, I must’ve had a fever. I could always talk, sometimes to my detriment. Radio was a place where I could use my powers for good instead of evil.”

SW: “My freshman year in high school, former Brewers radio announcer Jim Powell granted me an interview for an article I was writing for the school paper. It was that conversation that I believe first got me interested in sports broadcasting/play-by-play announcing.”

Who is your role model/hero in the profession?
BJ: “Bob Uecker. His filler material during bad Brewer games is the soundtrack of my life.”

SW: “I wouldn’t say I have a ‘hero’ or ‘role model’ in play-by-play announcing, but there is a pair of announcers that I really admire - Matt LePay (University of Wisconsin basketball & football radio play-by-play announcer) and Wayne Larrivee (Green Bay Packers radio play-by-play announcer). Their ability to paint a picture and express the emotion/drama of a play or entire game, all while using a very creative vocabulary, are facets that I strive for each broadcast I execute.”

Who has been your favorite player and why?
BJ: “That is very hard - there have been many. I got to watch four years of heroics from Clay Tucker. I got to watch Ronnie Jones light up Freedom Hall. I saw Ed McCants clear the baseline at Calahan Hall with the best dunk I’ve ever seen live. I saw Ronald “Boo” Davis make Youngstown State quit at 5-0 at the Beeghly Center. I saw Avo’s (Avery Smith) steal versus Oklahoma in Jacksonville. Too many great players to mention...”

SW: “I’ve never respected or enjoyed watching a basketball player more than Turquoise McCain. I don’t know if most fans realized this was a young woman that had lost her mother during her senior year in high school and then played virtually every game of her collegiate career in constant pain, as both knees were ravaged by tendinitis. Despite it all, she played as hard and intense as anyone I’ve every covered in person and was an intimidating figure on the floor. Off the court, though, she was the complete opposite -- singing, dancing, doing impressions -- always a character and one of the most memorable players I’ve been around.”

Strangest/funniest situation that has come up on the air/game day?
BJ: “Well, it was a game that we didn’t broadcast. Mount Scenario was scheduled to come to the Klotsche Center in 2000, I think. Anyway, there coach left for another job and the whole team quit. They ended up cobbling together five or six guys, the best of which was there starting QB, Perry something. They played five guys for 40 minutes each. The QB scored 18. The rest of the team scored three. Final score: Milwaukee 100, Mount Scenario 21. Best game of Kevin Schifferer’s career.”

SW: “During a nationally-televised game at Wisconsin in 2008, Traci Edwards was within her average of becoming the all-time leading scorer in Panthers history. Just before tipoff, our SID Kevin Conway turns to me with a bleak look on his face and tells me he miscalculated how many career points Traci had scored up to that point. Visibly upset, he said he was off by 20 points and immediately ran over to the Big Ten Network crew to inform them of the mistake and passed word along to Traci’s dad who was attending the game as well. After several minutes of anger, frustration, and re-calculation, it turned out Kevin was correct with the math to begin with and had to rush back to the TV crew, as well as Traci’s dad, to let them know to disregard his previous correction as the original numbers were right all along. While Kevin may have seen his professional reputation flash before his eyes, all I could do was shake my head and laugh at his emotional ten minute rollercoaster ride.”

Best story from the road?
BJ: “We went to Florida for a tournament at Florida International and a game at Bethune Cookman in Daytona in fall of 2000. No one seemed to speak English in Miami and they didn’t have the national anthem at Bethune Cookman. I think Bo Ryan was convinced that we were in Cuba.”

SW: “In December of 2007 the team played at Central Connecticut State and we arranged for a tour of the ESPN Studios in Bristol, CT. Everybody got a kick out of walking the halls where the infamous commercials are shot, meeting ESPN celebs like Scott VanPelt, Jesse Palmer, & Lou Holtz. Plus, for a guy in sports broadcasting, it doesn’t get much better than having the opportunity to sit behind the anchor desk of SportsCenter and get your picture taken ... trust me!”

Saturday, February 13, 2010

WBB Top Moments of the 2000s - Part 6

No list of top moments in the 2000s is complete without the most successful team in the program’s Division I history – 2005-06. That team featured a pair of senior leaders in Nichole Drummond and Molly O’Brien and a budding freshman star in Traci Edwards.

In comparing the team’s exploits to any other in the Division I history is simple. Their 22 wins and 22-9 record are school marks. The team won 17-of-19 after Jan. 1, including a school-record 12-straight. The Panthers shared the league regular season crown with Green Bay, but swept the Phoenix in the regular season to snag the No. 1 seed for the league tournament. Milwaukee then won the league tournament for the second time, doing so at the Klotsche Center, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time.

UWM also shot a school-record 44.7 percent from the field that season, went 9-5 on the road and dished out a school-record 16.7 assists per game.

The season featured a number of exciting games for the team, including a thrilling 90-87 double-overtime win at Southeast Missouri State. UWM came back from 18 down in the second half to force overtime vs. Butler on New Year’s Eve. The Panthers scored 51 second-half points in a come-from-behind win at Northwestern.

That doesn’t even include the aforementioned regular season sweep of Green Bay for the first time in school history. The two wins came within nine days of each other and included a thrilling 69-67 nail-biter at the Phoenix Sports Center.

Then, there was the league tournament.

After getting by Loyola in the quarterfinals, the Panthers overcame an 11-point deficit with 7:28 remaining to beat Butler in the semifinals. O’Brien capped the rally when she pulled down a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for the decisive lay-in with 4.8 seconds remaining.

Edwards then provided one of the best all-around performances in school history in the title game win over UIC. She snagged tournament MVP Honors after scoring 24 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists. Keep in mind she was a freshman center.

Friday, February 12, 2010

MBB: Decade Of The 2000's - Best Individual Performances

For the latest entry in our look back at the best moments of the 2000’s in UWM men’s basketball, I thought I would compile a list of the best individual offensive performances. One of the best of all came here in Dayton – where we just left from for the trip to Detroit.

In many ways, I guess this entry could be considered just a list of scoring tallies. But, if nothing else, hopefully this reminds you about some of the best of the best from the last 10 years.

I thought I would break it down by player, and there are really five players that have multiple entries in my book.

I’ll start with Clay Tucker since I already referenced his best earlier. There are actually two that stick out in my mind – both from the 2002-03 season. He dropped 40 on Wright State at the end of that year, and that led the Wright State fans to accuse UWM of running up the score. But it felt like Clay could have scored even more that night, and the Panthers put a big-time pounding on the Raiders. But, Tucker also helped the Panthers to a win at Loyola earlier this season while scoring 36 points. So, that is two efforts of 35 or more points on the road – definitely a big accomplishment.

Because Dylan Page was an inside player, you figure it should be a little harder for him to consistently post 30-plus-point nights because someone has to get him the ball. But the Panthers got him the ball a lot, and he converted consistently. Dylan loved playing against the teams from Chicago, it seems. I really remember his 32-point effort against Loyola in a home win in 2002-03. It happened in December and was his coming-out party in the Horizon League. Not to be outdone, he dropped 35 at Loyola the next season. And, he scored 31 in a loss at UIC.

No one played bigger in the magical postseason run of 2004-05 than Joah Tucker. He scored 31 for the Panthers in the league tournament semifinal win over Loyola, making 13-of-14 free throws in the contest. Then, against eventual national runner-up Illinois, Tucker dropped 32 in making 12-of-18 from the field. Considering the opponent and the stage, you might have to rank that one as the best individual performance in the last decade. I don’t know that Illinois would disagree.

In sheer volume, I can’t look past Avery Smith on this list. I mean, in spite of the ups and downs of his career, he was certainly one of the best scorers in the past decade. During that long 2006-07 season, UWM looked at him to score all the time. He did do that, though unfortunately his best efforts all came in losses. But, in dropping 36 at Oakland (eight 3’s), 33 at Drake and 32 at Detroit, he put together an impressive list of big-scoring nights in 2006-07.

Finally, I throw a few Boo Davis performances in now because Boo gradually became UWM’s most explosive offensive performer as his career developed. His most memorable, certainly, was the 26-point night he had against Oklahoma in the NCAA Tournament. But, he also scored 31 in a home loss to UIC that year, doing everything he could to try to help the Panthers overcome the loss of AT.

A few others have to make the list on an individual basis …
Ronnie Jones’ 33 points at Youngstown State was quite a site to behold. He made 10 three-pointers in the first game YSU ever played in the Horizon League. My biggest memory of that, though, was that there was no TV footage of it, so we had TV stations at Klotsche when we got home wanting Ronnie to “re-enact” it.

Ed McCants might have been UWM’s most explosive scorer, and when he got hot from three-point range he could put up points quickly. But his best individual effort actually came in one of the Panthers’ most disappointing losses – the home defeat at the hands of Detroit in the 2004-05 season. Ed made nine 3’s and scored 37 but the Panthers still fell.

And let’s not forget the fact that Adrian Tigert scored 27 points against eventual national champion Florida in 2006. Most of those guys are playing in the league right now, so I don’t think we can at least consider this effort as the most underrated great night in school history. Nothing like having your career-high in the final game of your collegiate career against Joakim Noah and Al Horford.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

WBB Top Moments of the 2000s - Part 5

In the state of Wisconsin, the rivalries are strong. Milwaukee has the same-state, same-league rivalry with Green Bay, the UW system rivalry with Wisconsin and the crosstown rivalry with Marquette. The 2008-09 season was an exciting one for two of these rivalries—Wisconsin and Marquette.

Milwaukee split against its major conference rivals, but the loss at Wisconsin was not without its drama. The win at Marquette was equally compelling. This moment covers a bit of the first, but really is about the second.

In the Panthers’ (seemingly) annual trip to the Kohl Center in Madison, they faced a Badger team that was receiving votes in the national polls and had come off some kind of Caribbean tournament championship. The game also had Traci Edwards poised to become Milwaukee’s all-time leading scorer.

Wisconsin was leading 47-31 with just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation. UWM then rattled off a 21-4 run to take a 52-51 lead with just over a minute remaining. After a Badger three, Edwards forced overtime with a layup with just 4.8 seconds remaining.

In overtime, Wisconsin hit a three with 7.8 seconds to go to force the second OT. Then, in that second extra period, the Panthers scored four-straight points to tie the game in the last 10 seconds, 69-69. UW converted 1-of-2 at the free throw line and Milwaukee got the rebound. Unfortunately, the Panthers’ luck ended there, as they were unable to get a shot off before the horn.

That would not be the case less than a month later at Marquette.

Milwaukee overcame a 26-13 first half deficit against the Golden Eagles to make it a five-point game late in regulation at 62-57. Jineen Williams drove to the basket for lay-ups on back-to-back UWM possessions to make it just a one-point game in the closing seconds.

After a missed MU free throw on the first half of a one-and-one, Edwards got the rebound to set up the climactic finish. Milwaukee called timeout to draw up one last play with 11 seconds remaining.

The final play did not exactly go off without a hitch. I don’t remember what exactly happened, but I do know that Turquoise McCain was forced to track down the ball when it was knocked loose and was subsequently fouled with 3.6 seconds remaining. On the foul, McCain twisted her knee and left the game.

Milwaukee was in the bonus and had free throws coming up, its own one-and-one situation. This set the stage for Ashley Imperiale to step in to shoot the ensuing free throws. Despite her sophomore status, this was just Imperiale’s third collegiate game. This was also before she played 30-plus minutes a game. The box score shows she played just three minutes, but they were pivotal.

She sunk the first to tie the game. MU called timeout to “ice” her. Then, the Milwaukee-area kid returned to the free throw line in the annual showdown between the two Division I teams in the city of Milwaukee and calmly sank the second.

The Golden Eagles were able to get off a three-point attempt from a reasonable distance, but it was off and the Panthers won!

UPDATE (Feb. 9, 11:45 am): I was directed to video on YouTube of Ashley making the free throws shot from our students at the game. The link is here. WARNING: Turn the sound down. Our students are right by the Marquette band, and we know how pep bands are, so it is really loud.

Monday, February 1, 2010

MBB: Decade Of The 2000's - Buzzer-Beaters

For the next entry in our look back at the decade of the 2000’s in UWM men’s basketball, I thought I would look back at buzzer-beaters, or at least those late or basically last-second shots that made a difference for the Panthers.

In a quick look back to jog my memory in case one had slipped my mind, I found a total of 15 times where you would say a late/late-second shot won or tied the game for the Panthers. I did go ahead and rank my favorites and most memorable ones in order, for whatever that is worth. After all, on this list, the top spot is the easiest one of all. And, at the time, every buzzer-beater seems like the best one.

Ricky’s shot Friday kind of triggered this list, and I went ahead and dropped it in at #6 on this list. So here we go, starting with some honorable mentions.

UIC - Senior Night in 2002-03 – Clay Tucker hits a game-winner with 24 seconds left. A huge shot by Tucker, to be sure, and it was very memorable night at the Klotsche Center. But, there was probably a little too much time still left to put this shot in the top 10. It did cap quite a comeback that night for the Panthers, though.

At Valpo – Ricky Franklin in 2007-08 – Ricky hit a shot with 39 seconds left that helped the Panthers pull out an amazing win without Paige Paulsen on the floor. Again, too much time left to put this in the top 10, but one of many big shots by Ricky.

At Detroit - Avery Smith forces overtime with 0.2 left – Avo nearly helped UWM pull out a road win at Calihan, but the Panthers couldn’t win it in OT after he forced the extra session.

Detroit - Ryan Thornton in 2006-07 – The ole Chillicothe Chucker had his Panther highlight on this night, as his three from the corner forced overtime before UWM won it in the extra time.

At Loyola - James Wright in 2000-01 – Wright scored on a layin with 5.4 seconds left to give UWM a double-overtime victory. The Panthers had blown a late lead and had lost three days earlier at UIC in four overtimes, so this was certainly a big win.

And now on to the top 10 …

#10 - Dan Weisse hits a game-winner with 12 seconds left at Cleveland State in 2000. This turned out to be UWM’s only league road win of the season. It helped get the Panthers into the 4-5 game in the league tournament, where they beat Green Bay.

#9 – Ricky Franklin ties the game at Ball State at the buzzer in 2007-08. The Panthers go on to win in overtime. UWM was way down in this game before launching the comeback, and Rick’s shot was really deep.

#8 - Ricky Franklin ties the game vs. nationally-ranked Butler in 2007-08, though UWM goes on to lose in overtime. I struggled with where to place this one, because it was most definitely a money shot against a big-time opponent. And, it was right at the buzzer and they even had to review it to make sure it was a three. But, UWM actually blew a lead in the game that caused them to need the late three, and then the Panthers couldn’t pull it out in overtime. Still, another big shot from Rick.

#7 - Paige Paulsen wins the game at Green Bay in 2006-07 on a layup with 1.2 seconds left. OK, how high up can you list a layup? Probably not at the top of the list, but I must admit this was a sweet win for the Panthers. No question the 06-07 season was a rough one, and when you only get nine wins you celebrate all of them. But, this was an improbable victory in the final game of the regular season, and Paulsen got himself open and came through when it counted. He has another entry further up this list.

#6 – Ricky Franklin wins the game vs. Valpo with a three this season. OK, it was actually just Friday, so in many ways it feels like the greatest shot ever! Do you really need me to recap it further? I debated about this one, too, but the degree of difficulty alone pushes this up the list. And it was a true game-winner, with a very difficult stretch of games lying ahead.

#5 - Paige Paulsen wins the game vs. Detroit in 2007-08. UWM was actually down 14 points late in this game and it looked like the positive vibe they had going at that point in the season was going to drift away. But, Paulsen knocked down a shot from about 30 feet away that turned a UWM deficit into a UWM win. I think the two things that push this one so far up the list are the fact that the Panthers were way down and the fact that if it misses, UWM loses. It just might have earned the Panthers two more wins, by the way, because Milwaukee rolled Youngstown two days later before claiming that win at Valpo mentioned earlier.

#4 - Ronnie Jones hits a three to tie the game with Virginia Tech in 2001-02, and the Panthers go on to win in overtime. This was actually the Ronnie Jones coming out party, as Jones had kind of been buried on the bench early in the season. I believe there is even a Bruce Pearl quote referencing that in the recap. But, UWM trailed by 21 points in the second half only to rally, with Jones providing a big, big spark long before his tying three-pointer. I would say this was a coming-out for the Panthers that season, but Milwaukee wound up losing at home to Western Michigan the next week. Still, it was an impressive win over a BCS foe and gave you a hint of what might be coming in the years ahead.

#3 - Chris Hill hits a shot in the lane to give UWM a win at Detroit in the 2005-06 season. The shot by Hill capped a big late comeback for the Panthers, who were down 11 late in the game against the Titans. And, UWM had lost its previous game at Green Bay, so the preseason-favorite Panthers were really feeling the heat. But, Hill helped UWM collect itself. After a near-turnover on the final possession, he got into the lane and hit the game-winner. It was probably the biggest regular-season win for the Panthers that season, and a loss by Butler at Detroit at the end of the year was what allowed UWM to claim the outright league crown.

#2 – Deion James hits the game-winning three-pointer vs. UIC in 2008-09. It what might have to rank as the most improbable finish to a Panther game at the U.S. Cellular Arena, UWM overcame a big deficit to win at the buzzer. Remember there were six missed free throws that allowed the Panthers to eventually get the James game-winner, which went through the hoop as time expired. Milwaukee would have lost had the shot not gone in, and it was a totally contested shot. But, it swished through and the celebration began.

#1 – Clay Tucker give UWM its first-ever win at Butler in 2001-02. If a shot makes the SportsCenter Top 10, then it probably has to be at the top of this list. But, this shot belongs there regardless. Milwaukee made a great comeback to be in position for the win, and Tucker hit a dandy of a shot from the top of the key to silence Hinkle Fieldhouse. In many ways, it was like Ricky’s shot Friday – really just a great player making a great play. As I said before, the win at Virginia Tech earlier in the season might not have been UWM’s coming out, but this most certainly was.