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Panthers embarrassed on Senior Night

You would have thought with it being Senior Night, and the Milwaukee Panthers coming into the game on a three-game losing that they would be motivated to beat the UIC Flames, but instead the Panthers ended up being embarrassed on their home court. The Flames (6-23, 1-14) picked up their first conference win in an 80-53 victory over the Panthers (16-13, 6-9).

“I’ve seen senior nights like this before, but you hope it just doesn’t happen to you,” head coach Rob Jeter said. “And I’ve been a part of them. I’ve seen them. Where emotionally, you see guys are just not there. We just weren’t in the right place.”

Right from the opening tip the Panthers struggled as they came out with no fight and energy. UIC jumped out to the lead right away on a layup by Jordan Harks, and would hold the advantage the entire 20 minutes.

“We were very flat, unemotional, not into the game from the beginning,” Jeter said. “That’s what happens sometimes. I know how emotional you can get. Your mind’s racing, ‘This is it.’ There really isn’t an explanation. It happens. To explain our performance tonight, it was lifeless.”

Kelsey Barlow was a major reason for this as he had 18 points on 7-8 shooting from the field, as the Flames led 39-27 at the half.

Milwaukee struggled even with the return of Aaron as they only made 31 percent of their shots, while UIC hit nearly 52 percent of their attempts from the field in the half.

The final 20 minutes where even worse as UIC continued to add onto their lead. The Flames were up by at least 20 points throughout most of the second half, and even got up by 29 points with 4:47 left.

The most excitement in the entire game came when senior Quinton Gustavson stepped onto the floor. He only played for four minutes towards the end of the game, but his performance got the few hundred fans still in attendance on their feet.

Gustavson scored five points, including a made three-point shot, while grabbing two rebounds.

In the game only three Panther players scored in double-digits with Kyle Kelm leading the way with 12 points.

Milwaukee finished the night shooting 31.6 percent from the field and 30 percent from three-point range.

UIC was due for a win, and while it is not a surprise that they won, they way they did it was a shocker. Milwaukee laid an egg, coming out with no fight, and they should be embarrassed by their performance on their home court.

The Panthers are fading, and their final regular season game against Detroit on Thursday evening will not be easy. The Titans (13-16, 6-8) beat the Panthers earlier in the season as they controlled the game from start to finish.

Juwan Howard Jr. leads the Titans offense with 18.6 points per game, while Detroit scores nearly 72 points per contest.

If Milwaukee is able to win they could finish as high as fifth, and would hold numerous tiebreakers to claim a home game for the conference tournament. With the way the Panthers have played the last four games, many fans will not expect them to win, but lately you never know what to expect from Milwaukee.

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