Saturday, December 8, 2012

Postgame Report - Buffalo and NIU

The Panthers got themselves back on the winning track with an 80-73 overtime win over Northern Illinois Friday. This came on the heels of a disappointing 20-point loss to Buffalo Wednesday. In order to combine the good with the bad, here’s a two-game postgame report.

Player Of The Game(s): Admittedly it’s hard to pick anyone out when you include long stretches of the Buffalo game. But it is very obvious the Panthers need Paris Gulley playing well. He didn’t have a great night Wednesday and Milwaukee struggled. He was stellar in the first 20-plus minutes against Northern Illinois and UWM built its lead. The Huskies clamped down on him after that and were able to get back in the game. But, his contributions on defense, his low-turnover count and his ability to spread the floor and hit a big shot continues to make him Milwaukee’s most valuable weapon.

Turning Point: The first two possessions of overtime against Northern Illinois for Milwaukee saw the Panthers touch the post. And, it resulted in paint baskets for Kyle Kelm and James Haarsma. In the end, it was those two possessions that allowed Milwaukee to salvage part of its two-game homestand.

Key Numbers: UWM was far from perfect in its win over Northern Illinois Friday but the Panthers showed improvement in some key areas. After allowing Buffalo to shoot nearly 56 percent from the floor in Wednesday's loss, the Panthers held NIU to just 39.7 percent shooting. Milwaukee also broke a recent trend of not getting to the foul line, going there 40 times while converting 29 attempts. UWM wound up outscoring NIU, 29-10, from the line.

News and Notes: Milwaukee had some luck from long distance Friday night in the win over Northern Illinois, knocking in nine 3-pointers. But UWM needed 31 attempts to make those nine and is still looking to regain the stride it had early in the season. The Panthers opened the year by making 34-of-82 on three-pointers in the first three games of the season. Then UWM made only 12-of-57 from beyond the arc in the next three outings. In the last week, the Panthers have steadily gotten better, going 23-of-75 from three-point range. On the season, that adds up to Milwaukee shooting 32.2 percent from long distance … Officially, the Panthers outrebounded Northern Illinois, 42-41, Friday night. It was just the fourth time in nine games where UWM has won the rebounding battle. But, the Huskies collected 21 offensive rebounds, with that tally coming on the heels of Buffalo having corralled 16 offensive rebounds Wednesday night. Milwaukee is being outrebounded by nearly five boards per game this season. UWM has held its own on the offensive glass, as even in giving up 21 on Friday night Milwaukee collected 15 of its own. And, its season deficit on offense rebounds is less than two per game.

Up Next: UWM heads to DePaul Sunday afternoon.