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Panthers find success without Austin Arians

Milwaukee beat Platteville, 68-54, on Thursday night, but it didn’t come easy.

Austin Arians was sidelined with an ankle injury, and it was quite obvious that the Panthers were missing his offensive presence. Milwaukee scored a solid 68 points and shot 24-55 overall, but the Panthers missed Arians’ ability out on the perimeter.

Milwaukee shot 4-15 from three-point territory and two of those three’s came in the final two minutes of the game. Without Arians in the lineup Platteville was able to pack their players in the lane making it more difficult for Milwaukee’s post players to score.

Arians official injury was a high ankle sprain, and Panther head coach Rob Jeter said after the game that even if tonight was their opening game against Auburn, his status would have been in doubt.

“High ankle sprain, that takes time,” Jeter said. “So I’m sure if this was Auburn tonight, with the adrenaline going he would have wanted to play, I don’t know physically if he could have played, but we’ll have the trainers work on him for another week and see what happens.”

While the Panthers might have struggled from the outside, they seemed to have most of their success on the inside. Akeem Springs lead the Panthers in scoring with 15 points with 12 of those coming from inside the paint.

During the Panthers’ second half run that put them ahead, Springs was posting up and attacking the rim. Springs is a big, physical guard and his ability to post up could be a key part to the Panthers’ success this year.

“Coach has talked to me about being physical and I think the biggest thing for me is using that and not settling for jump shots,” Springs said. “As a team, I don’t think we’re there yet this year, so if we can develop and inside presence I think we’ll be better as a team.”

The status of Arians come next Friday will be something to pay attention to for Panther fans. Milwaukee will need Arians three-point ability if they want to win against former coach Bruce Pearl and his challenging Auburn Tigers squad.

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