Norse take control early to knock off Panthers
MILWAUKEE- Northern Kentucky took control early and built a big halftime lead in claiming a 91-64 victory over the Milwaukee men's basketball team Thursday night at UWM Panther Arena.
The Panthers (9-12, 2-6 Horizon League) made several attempts to get back in the game in the second half, but the Norse (13-6, 6-1 Horizon League) had an answer each time.
"Tonight was certainly not our night," head coach Pat Baldwin said. "We came up against a very good opponent that obviously returned a lot of great qualities, inside and out. They dictated tempo from the very beginning, they set the tone for how they wanted to play and we couldn't match that."
Brock Stull led Milwaukee with 12 points, adding five assists and a pair of steals.
Brett Prahl made 5-of-6 field goal attempts to finish with 11 points, with Bryce Barnes and Jeremiah Bell each chipping in nine.
"We couldn't get anything going offensively," Baldwin said. "There is a lot to learn from this – that is the consistent message that we are giving our guys in the huddle. This was a disappointing way to start our stretch of home games."
Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Drew McDonald led the visitors with a double-double of 25 points and 12 boards. Teammate Lavone Holland flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 19 points (7-7 FG), 10 assists and seven rebounds.
Milwaukee looked to start the second half strong, with a 7-0 spurt forcing an NKU timeout and making it 49-30 on the scoreboard. The Panther defense would get stops, but too many empty possessions did not allow the comeback to continue in full force.
Back-to-back three's by Tyler Sharpe pushed the lead back to 60-32 at the 12:57 mark and the closest the Panthers would get the rest of the way was 18.
Not too much went right for the squad in the first half, down 14-6 on a McDonald 3 five minutes in before getting doubled-up early at 22-11.
The Norse kept up the pressure, using a strong defensive showing to really pull away, extending the lead all the way to 49-23 at the break. NKU held Milwaukee to 30 percent (9-of-30) shooting while sinking 55.6 percent (20-of-36) of its own attempts over the first 20 minutes.
Milwaukee finished the night at 41.1 percent (23-of-56) from the field. Northern Kentucky shot well, making 60 percent (36-of-60), helped along by a rebound advantage of 37-23.
The Panthers are right back at it on Saturday, hosting Wright State downtown in a game scheduled to start at 7 p.m.