PantherU

Vegas showdown with the Ragin’ Cajuns

The goal of the Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball team is a simple one going into their game against Louisiana Lafayette in Las Vegas on Monday night. The Panthers need to strive to play a clean and complete game. Playing a complete game in all areas is not something the Panthers have accomplished yet this season and it is largely the reason the Panthers have not beaten a Division I opponent to date.

Milwaukee hasn’t been able to get that complete game against a D-I opponent. Neither has tonight’s matchup, Louisiana Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns have a victory over non-D-I Louisiana College, but besides that have been thoroughly beaten by Tulsa and Auburn.

Shawn Long led the team in scoring at Tulsa and then disappeared against Auburn, only scoring six of the team’s 80 points. So you don’t know where the points are going to come from, since the Ragin’ Cajuns had five players in double figures against the run and gun Auburn Tigers.

The Ragin’ Cajuns had some foul trouble against Auburn. Not unlike the Panthers.

In the opening game of the season against Auburn, the Panthers struggled in the second half as foul problems mounted before three of the five starters eventually fouled out. In that game the Panthers also struggled with handling Auburn’s press. On multiple occasions, the Panthers would get trapped in the corner against the baseline forcing them to burn several time outs and play almost the entire last nine minutes of the game with no time outs.

A few nights later the Panthers lost a home game to the IUPUI Jaguars and once again the Panthers made critical mistakes at inopportune times. At one point in the first half the Panthers had a double digit lead in the game but the Panthers were unable to hold it. Junior forward Matt Tiby played four minutes in that game and picked up a key momentum shifting technical foul. Despite this the Panthers had a chance to tie the game and force overtime on their last possession but turned the ball over trying to inbound the ball.

While the Panthers lost at Oklahoma State by a score of 82-68 on Friday night there were some positives that the Panthers can take out of that game going forward. In this game the Panthers out rebounded Oklahoma State 32 to 26 also in the second half of that game the Panthers outscored the Cowboy 41 to 38.

Two keys to winning this game for the Panthers will be to keep starters out of foul problems defensively. The Panthers need to do a good job of playing fundamental solid defense and move their feet and not get put in situations where they have to grab and reach. On offense the Panthers need to limit their turnovers since turnovers came at critical points against IUPUI and in high numbers against Oklahoma State.

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