Milwaukee, WI - It took until game number 21, but Wisconsin-Milwaukee finally has a winning streak of its own.
Led by career scoring highs from senior Cody Wichmann (6'5''-G) (23) and junior Brett Prahl (18), the Panthers sent their Horizon League match-up against Youngstown State on Sunday afternoon to overtime, then outscored the Penguins 19-10 in the extra stanza to pull out a 94-85 victory for their second win in a row. The victory avenged Milwaukee's 88-87 double overtime loss to Youngstown State on December 29.
'We thought it would be a good idea to test the loyalty of all our Panthers fans to take the game to overtime to see who was going to run up the stairwells to find a television set to catch the Packers game,' joked Milwaukee Coach LaVall Jordan, knowing full well that the end of his game bumped into the start of the Green Bay Packers-Atlanta Falcons playoff game, something that seemingly every sports fan in the state of Wisconsin had been fixating on all week.
Prahl sent the Panthers into the overtime session by tracking down a missed shot of teammate Brock Stull, contorting his body under the basket and making an acrobatic shot at the rim to tie the score at 75 with 2.4 seconds left in regulation. That hoop put a punctuation mark on a highly efficient afternoon for Prahl that saw him make 9-of-10 field goal attempts, all at the rim, pull down five rebounds and block two shots. He finished the game as the top field goal shooter in the conference with a 74 percent shooting mark.
Scoring often off penetration, mostly below the rim and never calling attention to himself, it could be said that the 6-9 Prahl scores his points in a quiet manner. 'He goes about everything quietly,' said Jordan. 'He asks the right questions and has improved greatly since we (Jordan and coaching staff) got here. If we had to give a most improved player award to someone, he'd get it.'
Prahl failed to start a single game in his first two years with the Panthers. In fact, his total points scored in those years did not reach triple digits. Coming off a four-point outing in the Panthers most recent game, a buzzer-beating, 63-62 victory over Cleveland State on January 20, Prahl carried an 8.4 ppg scoring average into the Youngstown State game.
But he more than doubled his average by scoring around Youngstown State centers Jorden Kaufman and Devin Haygood with both hands and often out of post-ups along both sides of the lane. 'He got himself in great shape over the summer,' said Jordan. 'We needed him to because we wanted him to be able to run the court and show on ball screens.'
'We have the most confidence in Brett,' added Wichmann. 'Nine of ten (made shots), that's ridiculous. He knows when to shoot and when to pass it out.'
Wichmann got Milwaukee rolling in the overtime by doing what he does best-knocking down a shot from distance. Those were the first of seven points Wichmann would score in overtime as he later drained all four of his free throws to help keep the Penguins at bay.
A product of a small town just outside Green Bay, Wisconsin, Wichmann resisted the temptation to transfer after the dismissal of longtime Milwaukee Coach Rob Jeter after the end of the 2015-16 season. Unlike former teammates of his like Akeem Springs and Austin Arians, now starting at Minnesota and Wake Forest, respectively, Wichmann bought into Jordan and has started every game for the Panthers after playing exclusively off the bench last season.
A left-handed shooter, Wichmann is more comfortable shooting off the catch than dribble. His first made three-point shot came in transition and staked the Panthers to a 9-2 early lead. Later in the first half, Wichmann drifted to the corner to receive a pass from point guard August Hass and knocked down a triple to push the Milwaukee lead to 19-14. For the game, Wichmann made 3-of-7 attempts from behind the arc.
With a sparkling .421 career shooting percentage from distance going into the season, Wichmann's accuracy had suffered this season. He brought a .370 three-point percentage into the Youngstown State game. 'Everyone's keying on Cody and he's at the top of everyone's scouting reports,' said Jordan. To counter the added defensive attention above the arc, Wichmann has increased his activity off the ball. Against the Penguins, he back cut defenders and was able to create separation to receive passes and scored twice at the rim.
Milwaukee got an unexpected scoring infusion from fifth-year senior Cameron Harvey, who brought a 1.6 ppg scoring average with him into the game. Harvey knocked down 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc and scored three more baskets in the paint to finish with 15 points. The Stetson transfer had been struggling since the start of the Horizon League season. In fact, his 15-point game surpassed his scoring output in the Panthers first seven league games. 'Every single shot that he made seemed like a big shot,' said Jordan.
A freshman from Copenhagen, Denmark, Haas was solid orchestrating the Panthers offense. Entering the game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of closer to one than the more desired two or more, Hass handed out nine assists without turning over the ball once. 'August is starting to understand the (point guard) position and is finding his sweet spots on the floor,' said Jordan. 'We're giving him more ownership of the offense and he likes being in command.'
The Penguins squandered a 71-62 lead in the last seven minutes of regulation and were outscored 13-4 as they were forced into the extra session. They had built their lead behind the marksman of junior guard Cameron Morse, a 6-3 shooting guard who brought a team-high 22.4 ppg scoring average into the game. A high volume shooter who carried a 41 percent shooting mark into the game, the native of Flint, Michigan connected on half of his 16 shots including making five of eight shots from behind the arc.
As Milwaukee heads to Michigan for games against Detroit Mercy and Oakland on January 27 and 29, respectively, Jordan said he will take a different feeling about his club with him. 'Eleven of our 21 games have been three possessions or less, and we've come out on the other (losing) side more times. I think we're figuring out a way to make enough plays down the stretch to win these now,' said the first-year Milwaukee coach.
The Penguins return to Youngstown to open a three-game homestand on January 28 against Cleveland State.
Mika leads BYU to upset of No. 1 Gonzaga 79-71 - 1 hour ago
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Top-ranked Gonzaga's quest to go undefeated this season ended under a barrage of baskets by BYU's Eric Mika (6'10''-F) on Saturday night. Mika had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and BYU upset Gonzaga 79-71. It was the Cougars' first victory ever over a No. 1 team, after four losses, and spoiled the Bulldogs' perfect record in their last regular season game. The sophomore center made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and 9 of 13 free throws. His biggest basket put BYU ahead 73-71 with a minute lef... [read more]
Top-ranked Gonzaga's quest to go undefeated this season ended under a barrage of baskets by BYU's Eric Mika (6'10''-F) on Saturday night. Mika had 29 points and 11 rebounds, and BYU upset Gonzaga 79-71. It was the Cougars' first victory ever over a No. 1 team, after four losses, and spoiled the Bulldogs' perfect record in their last regular season game. The sophomore center made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and 9 of 13 free throws. His biggest basket put BYU ahead 73-71 with a minute left in the game. Gonzaga lost the ball on its next two possessions, and then Corbin Kaufusi (6'10''-C) had a putback and Mika hit two free throws to put the game out of reach. Gonzaga ended a string of 15 consecutive games where it didn't trail in the second half. "They haven't had anyone have a lead on them in the second half for quite a while," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "I thought that would be a really big emotional thing for us, and an emotional thing for them to have to respond. "You beat the No. 1 team on the road the last weekend of the season, it's good for a lot of reasons," Rose added. The Cougars rallied from an early 16-point deficit, and Mika said the team never wavered in its belief it could win. "I think all of us did and that was a big thing," Mika said. "I don't think a lot of teams, especially in our conference, believe 100 percent that they're going to come in and do that." The Cougars scored 44 points in the second half and made nine 3-pointers to just three for Gonzaga. Nigel Williams-Goss (6'3''-G-94) scored 19 points for Gonzaga (29-1, 17-1 West Coast), which was seeking to become the first team since Kentucky in 2014-15 to finish the regular season without a loss. "Obviously, it didn't go as we hoped," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We missed a lot of free throws and turned the ball over too much to be able to win a close game like that." Gonzaga missed 13 of its 29 free throws and had 16 turnovers but still led most of the game. "The season isn't over," Gonzaga guard Jordan Mathews (6'4''-G-94) said. "It is a great season. We'd love to be 30-0, but we are 29-1." T.J. Haws added 17 points and Elijah Bryant 14 for BYU (21-10, 12-6). The last team to finish the entire season undefeated was Indiana in 1975-76. Gonzaga came out fired up and jumped to an 18-2 lead in the first five minutes, making 7 of 10 shots. The Zags cooled off, and three consecutive 3-pointers by BYU's Haws cut Gonzaga's lead to 26-22. Mika's basket cut Gonzaga's lead to one point before the Bulldogs closed with a 10-5 run to take a 41-35 lead at halftime. Zach Collins (7'0''-F-97)' putback gave Gonzaga a 58-46 lead midway through the second. A technical foul on Gonzaga helped BYU cut its deficit to 58-53 and seemed to spark the Cougars. A pair of 3-pointers by Nick Emery (6'2''-G) cut Gonzaga's lead to one, and Mika's basket gave the Cougars their first lead at 61-60. The teams traded baskets until Mika put the Cougars ahead for good. Courtesy of: abcnews.com
Behind a double-double from Jae'Sean Tate (6'4''-F) and hot shooting nights from C.J. Jackson (6'1''-PG) and Jaquan Lyle (6'5''-G-96), Ohio State handled No. 16 Wisconsin, 83-73, in head coach Thad Matta 's Ohio State-record 457th game at the helm of the Buckeyes Thursday at Value City Arena. Tate went for 15 points and 12 boards for his second-consecutive double-double while Jackson went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds, four as... [read more]
Behind a double-double from Jae'Sean Tate (6'4''-F) and hot shooting nights from C.J. Jackson (6'1''-PG) and Jaquan Lyle (6'5''-G-96), Ohio State handled No. 16 Wisconsin, 83-73, in head coach Thad Matta 's Ohio State-record 457th game at the helm of the Buckeyes Thursday at Value City Arena. Tate went for 15 points and 12 boards for his second-consecutive double-double while Jackson went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc en route to a team-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Lyle added 17 points, including all 10 from the charity stripe, while also tacking on four helpers for the Buckeyes (16-13, 6-10 Big Ten). Bronson Koenig (6'4''-G) led all scorers with 27 for the Badgers (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten). After a Koenig 3-pointer gave Wisconsin a 6-4 lead just over two minutes into the game, the Buckeyes used a 9-0 run to take a 13-6 advantage with 14:40 remaining in the half. The Buckeyes then got hot from the field, turning it into a 44-31 halftime lead. For the half, Ohio State shot 51.6 percent while connecting on five shots from behind the arc. Tate turned in a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards in 17 first-half minutes while Jackson added nine points and three assists. Koenig kept the Badgers in it with 14 in the first half, including four 3-pointers. The Badgers had the Buckeyes lead trimmed to nine at 56-47 with 11:00 remaining but back-to-back 3-pointers by Lyle and Jackson pushed the Ohio State advantage up to 15 at 62-47 with 9:19 left to play. Wisconsin was unable to get within 13 until the final minute of play as the Buckeyes hit on 5 of 6 3-pointers after the half. Courtesy of: mariononline.com
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road. Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. [read more]
San Diego, CA - Jenny Craig Pavilion had never hosted the No. 1 team in the country before Gonzaga showed up on Thursday night. The top ranked Bulldogs (29-0) came in and systematically dismantled the University of San Diego (12-17) 96-38, recording the largest margin of victory ever for a No. 1 team on the road.
Gonzaga jumped out to an 11-0 lead while USD missed its first nine shots and pushed that lead to 28 at halftime despite nine turnovers and 50 percent shooting from the foul line. The Zags came out even more focused in the second half and shot an astounding 74 percent from the field including 8-of-11 from 3-point range. Gonzaga hit 13 3's on the night while USD managed just 14 made buckets, a recipe for disaster. The Zags imposed their will defensively challenging every shot and staying solid. Combine that effort with smart play and you get that type of performance as they only committed 12 fouls in the game.
Every night it can be one of several players leading the way for the Zags and on this night the first standout was Johnathan Williams III (6'9''-F-95). The 6-9 junior transfer from Missouri made his presence known early on both ends of the floor. USD was determined to quickly double Przemek Karnowski on every touch and he was more than willing to pass out of the traps. Williams found himself on the receiving end of passes out of the rotations resulting in 10 first half points despite missing 4-of-6 free throws. He was more dominant on the defensive end grabbing 13 first half rebounds while USD only grabbed eight as a team. Williams was aggressive and used his size and athleticism to attack everything coming off the rim. His performance allowed the guards to leak out in transition and push the pace offensively leading to several of those open 3-point looks. Williams finished the night with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and 19 rebounds. He is now shooting 61 percent from the floor on the year.
The Tritons came out determined not to let the 7-1 Karnowski beat them and he was held to just three field goal attempts notching just five points and three rebounds. But he became a facilitator in successfully passing out of the post and initiating the offensive attack. It has been the calling card all year long of the unselfish Bulldogs who made it look easy all night long in shooting 66 percent for the game.
Leading scorer 6-5 junior Nigel Williams-Goss had a typical game for him with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists. The player of the year candidate is averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He is always in control, is a vocal leader on the floor and plays extremely hard on the defensive end. He had the ability to get to the rim whenever he wanted yet he displayed patience by working the offense and finding even easier shots for his teammates. Many of those open looks went to Josh Perkins and Zach Collins. Perkins (6-3 soph.) knocked down 5-of-8 from 3-point range and seemed to be unguarded all night long. He also chipped in five rebounds and led the team with six assists, which shows he was not forcing shots up.
The Bulldogs also have the luxury of bringing a 7-foot McDonald's All-American off the bench in freshman Collins. Collins is third on the team in scoring at 10.7 per game despite only playing 17 minutes per game. He has the look of a future lottery pick written all over him. He has a great combination of size and athleticism to go along with polished post moves and a soft touch. He can score on either block with either hand. He made one play where he caught the ball at the high post in a high-low set, saw the pass was not there then took one hard dribble to his left and finished it left handed like a guard. He is also a good defender and has 3-point range (43.8%).
There were not many bright spots for USD on a night where they shot just 24 percent, which was not their worst performance of the year on their home court (19 percent vs. St. Mary's). Sophomore 6-2 guard Olin Carter was the only player in double figures for the Tritons finishing with 15 on 6-of-16 shooting. He worked hard offensively trying to find cracks in the Bulldog defense but mostly had to settle for contested jump shots. When given good looks he can knock down shots consistently, but those opportunities were rare on this night. Brett Bailey leads the team averaging 15.6 points but he was held in check tonight. The 6-6 forward out of Spokane could not find his stroke going just 3-of-11 for seven points. He created a few scoring opportunities using his ability to put the ball on the floor against the bigger defenders but was unable to finish around the rim.
The Bulldogs proved once again that they are in the national title hunt with this dominating performance. According to Synergy Stats they are No. 2 in offensive points per possession and No. 1 in defensive points per possession. They are big, athletic, deep, unselfish and play with poise and purpose on both ends of the floor. They are going to be a tough out in March. Gonzaga will host BYU on Saturday and try and finish the regular season undefeated. San Diego will host Portland, also on Saturday.
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