Practicing for the weekend. I'll be posting rapid reactions from tonight's game here at every media timeout.
Northwestern made things unnecessarily difficult down the stretch as Milwaukee closed to within 7 points in the final minutes, but the Wildcats managed to close out the game with a final score of 70-61 for their first postseason victory in a long time by having Michael Thompson and Alex Marcotullio control the ball as the clock ran out.
Second Half Under 4:
Milwaukee's down 68-56 with 3:10 remaining. Kaylon Williams had struggled, but he hit two straight threes and got more active on the defensive glass over the past few minutes. Also, Tony Meier got back into things as the Panthers cut the lead to 62-56. The problem is that Northwestern responded quickly with threes by Juice Thompson and John Shurna to push the lead back out to 12.
Second Half Under 8:
A lot turnovers, missed shots and ugly basketball led to exactly one point between media timeouts, Northwestern up 55-44. Milwaukee making little mistakes - the Panthers had an end line violation on an inbounds pass as one of their turnovers.
Second Half Under 12:
Milwaukee has closed the gap to 54-44 thanks to a lot of hustle. The usually Panther suspects are starting to make a difference as Tone Boyle hit a three and Anthony Hill got a couple baskets underneath. Northwestern is keeping Milwaukee at arms length thanks to the play of Michael Thompson. After hitting 3-6 threes the Panthers are closing out on him hard, he's taking advantage of it by driving to the hoop and finding teammates in the paint. John Shurna, the game's leading scorer with 16 points - and headed to the free throw line - has been the main beneficiary.
Second Half Under 16:
I'm slightly confused why it takes Milwaukee so long to get its best talent on the court. Ryan Allen came off the bench pretty close to the media timeout and Northwestern leads 44-30. Milwaukee continues to turn the ball over too much and the Wildcats are still grabbing offensive boards, one that led to an Alex Marcotullio three from the corner on a reload.
Northwestern leads 38-26 at the half. Milwaukee finally ended its scoring drought with a three-pointer by Tony Meier with 2:57 remaining, but Juice Thompson answered right back. Ryan Allen has given the Panthers a bit of a spark, he has 5 points on 2-2 shooting, 2 boards, a steal and a block. Milwaukee looked to have weathered the storm before Northwestern pushed it out to double-digits right before.
Tempo Free Half:
Milwaukee: 26 points on 33 possessions (.788)
Northwestern: 38 points on 31 possessions (1.23)
Northwestern OR%: 33.3%
Milwaukee OR%: 7.1%
Northwestern TO%: 9.7%
Milwaukee TO%: 27.3%
Northwestern eFG%: 51.6%
Milwaukee eFG%: 47.8%
First Half Under 4:
Milwaukee hasn't scored in almost 9 minutes and Northwestern is still on a 18-0 run to take a 31-16 lead with 3:43 remaining. Drew Crawford is crashing the glass hard with three rebounds and he also has 6 points. Part of Milwaukee's problem is that its senior leaders haven't stepped up. Tone Boyle is 1-7 from the field and is getting hesitant to shoot and Anthony Hill is 2-6. No other Panther has attempted more than 2 shots from the field.
First Half Under 8:
An 11-0 Northwestern run has given the Wildcats a 24-16 lead. Milwaukee has been unable to deal with Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone. The big men especially seem bothered by the swarming and jumping Wildcats and have committed 7 team turnovers. Northwestern also already has four offensive rebounds, sometime they don't get that many in a game. Michael Thompson has 9 points and 2 offensive boards and John Shurna is well on his way to a double-double with 8 points and 4 boards. Rob Jeter called a 30-second timeout and put Kaylon Williams back in the game, possibly too late, but it hasn't stemmed the tide yet.
First Half Under 12:
There are a bunch of threes raining down from the sky as the teams have combined to attempt 15 in the first 8 minutes. Both teams are amongst the national leaders in three-point attempts as a percentage of shots, so that was expected. Milwaukee has stormed back to take a 16-15 lead. That caused Bill Carmody to switch to the 1-3-1 defense and Alex Marcotullio is doing a good job harassing Milwaukee point guard Kaylon Williams. Williams committed one turnover against the press and almost coughed up another. Apparently while scrapping on the floor he got a bit of blood on him and he's currently out of the game.
First Half Under 16:
Both offenses are really clicking here in the early going. Missed shots are the only way possessions are ending. It has also been a clean game as Anthony Hill's foul, the game's first brought us to the under four timeout at 10-8 Northwestern. The Wildcats are 4-6 from the field and 2-4 from the three-point line. Senior point guard Juice Thompson leads all scorers with five points.