Black and Gold escape with victory

Antoine Christian threw up a heave to try and steal a victory, but it caromed off the glass, leaving the Milwaukee Panthers with a sweaty 59-57 victory on Monday night in DeKalb, Illinois over the Northern Illinois Huskies.

James Haarsma was the MVP of the night for the Panthers, taking several charges from the Huskies while dropping in 15 points and securing 12 rebounds.  Haarsma’s 5-for-7 shooting clip on the night was also the best on the team, as only one other player shot better than 44% (Ryan Haggerty, 1-1 3PT).

Ryan Allen and Kaylon Williams did well on perimeter defense.

Milwaukee opened up a twelve-point lead at half-time, but the all-too-usual scoring drought hit the Panthers hard to begin the second half.  Northern Illinois used some crafty shooting in the second stanza to take the lead with 10:46 remaining in the game.  The Panthers quickly regained the lead on a Kyle Kelm three-point shot, putting the black and gold up for good despite never growing the lead past six the rest of the way.

Four Panthers finished in double figures on the night.  Ja’Rob McCallum started hot, scoring twelve points by the five minute mark of the first half.  He cooled down considerably and did not make another shot the rest of the game, and did not attempt a single free throw.  Kyle Kelm had a big second half on the way to a ten-point outing, spending more of his time in his comfort zone of mixing perimeter shooting with mid-range attacks.  The Panthers also got ten from senior guard Ryan Allen, who made his living under the basket, pulling down six rebounds and taking ten foul shots on the night.

Milwaukee showed an extremely stout perimeter defense when Kaylon Williams, Ryan Allen and Paris Gulley were on the floor.  Tim Toler was the only Husky in double-figures, scoring 11 on the night.

The Panthers had a chance to guarantee at least overtime in the waning seconds, but Paris Gulley missed the second of two free throw attempts and Christian’s shot would have been the game-winner.

Milwaukee returns to action Friday at the Arena as they take on the IUPUI Jaguars at 7 p.m.  The Jaguars are in action Tuesday night at 7 p.m. against UALR, who Milwaukee also plays this season.

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