PantherU

Milwaukee beats UMKC 65-56 at home

Steve McWhorter scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Milwaukee Panthers, as they were able to win a tightly contested game against the visiting UMKC Kangaroos, 65-56, at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday evening.

Cody Wichmann continued to be a major spark off the bench for head coach Rob Jeter scoring 11 points on the night, while Matt Tiby also had his best game on the young season, adding 11 points and 11 rebounds.

“It’s important that we get Cody or a second guy (to go along with McWhorter) averaging double figures in scoring so we get more balance,” Jeter said. “It’s even more important that we get a third guy there. It’s good to see Tiby get to that 11-point mark tonight.

“Ideally we are at our best when we have four guys averaging double figures. But, right now as we are battling through this early part of the season, it’s good to see a few guys in double figures because it’s going to create better balance for us. I thought that was the key for us tonight – better balance.”

With this win, the Panthers improve their record to 4-4, including an impressive 3-1 at home.

Both teams got off to an extremely slow start, as Milwaukee held a 3-0 lead, thanks to a three-pointer by JeVon Lyle, at the under 16-minute media timeout.

The Panthers were able to push their lead to as many as 13 points with 7:40 remaining in the half, but the Kangaroos didn’t quite. They fought back and cut the score to 28-22 by the end of the first half.

The majority of McWhorter’s success against the gritty UMKC defense came in the second half, as he scored 15 of his 17 points in the final 20 minutes of play.

“Steve has played phenomenally well all year and guys have been feeding off him,” said Jeter. “I can’t say enough good things about how he has played this year.”

With 8:47 remaining in the game, Milwaukee led by 16 points. It appeared that the Panthers had complete control of this game, but the Kangaroos thought otherwise, as they played strong defense to move within four points of the Panthers with 2:57 remaining.

Unfortunately for UMKC, this was the closest they were able to get. Milwaukee was able drain their free throw shots to close this game out and earn the victory in front of the roaring home Panther crowd.

Milwaukee finished the game shooting 44.9 percent (22-49) from the floor, including 34.8 percent (8-23) from three-point range. They also hit 72.2 percent (13-18) of their free throw attempts. The rebounding battle was close, but the Panthers edged out the Kangaroos, 37-36, on the boards.

Despite the slow start, this was arguably one of the better performances by the Panthers this season. Besides the inexcusable 17 turnovers, Milwaukee played well on both sides of the ball, to knock off a team who beat the Missouri Tigers earlier this season in UMKC.

The Panthers next challenge will come on Sunday afternoon when they take a short road trip south to face DePaul in hopes of winning two consecutive games for the first time this season.

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