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Panthers lose fifth straight 69-63 at Northern Kentucky

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (Feb. 11, 2017) - The Milwaukee men's basketball team led by double-figures midway through the second half but was unable to put away Northern Kentucky, falling by a final score of 69-63 Saturday night at BB&T Arena.
 
The Panthers (8-19, 4-10 Horizon League) never trailed for the first 36-plus minutes of the contest, only to see the Norse (17-9, 8-5 Horizon League) put together a huge rally to snatch the victory in the closing minutes and improve to 9-2 at home this season.
 
"Give Northern Kentucky a ton of credit there," Milwaukee head coach LaVall Jordan said. "Lavone Holland, especially, in the second half stepped up and made extremely big shots in big moments. When they needed a basket, he delivered."
 
Cody Wichmann led the offense for the fifth time in the past seven games, finishing with 19 points that included five three-pointers.
 
Jeremiah Bell was just off his career-high, finishing with 15 points in front of a large group of family and friends that made the short trip from his Louisville, Ky., hometown.
 
Brett Prahl put together another solid effort, scoring eight points to go along with eight rebounds that tied his career high. His four blocks were also a collegiate best.
 
"On the offensive end, we had some opportunities," Jordan said. "We have to take better care of the ball. But I loved the energy, especially early."
 
Lavone Holland scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, including 14 in a late 27-4 surge that completely turned the game around for the Norse over the final nine minutes.
 
Drew McDonald added 13 as Northern Kentucky scored 28 of the final 37 points of the night to escape with the win despite the Panthers shooting 52.2 percent (24-of-46) from the floor for the evening.
 
The home team scored the first six points of the second half to force a UWM timeout, from which it responded with an 8-0 run to retake control at 43-33 on a jumper by Bryce Nze.
 
The Norse pushed back, netting six in a row to draw within a possession at 43-40, but it was Nze again, scoring on a lay-in and drawing a charge to help UWM push it back to seven at 47-40.
 
Bell started taking over, as his back-to-back drives down the lane resulted in a 51-41 lead. Prahl blocked McDonald on consecutive touches and a 3 by Bell from the wing extended the lead to its biggest of the night at 54-41 with 8:30 to play.
 
>From there it was all NKU, posting that large scoring run to claim the win.
 
The Panthers held the 35-27 advantage at intermission. Milwaukee used the three-ball early, with Wichmann hitting from deep four times, with his 12 points keying the way to a 10-4 start, as well as an 8-0 run that was capped by an Nze dunk, forcing a timeout at 18-9.
 
UWM led by a dozen in two spots, first at 24-12 and again at 29-17 on a dunk by Prahl at the 8:59 mark.
 
>From there, the offense went cold, going 7:50 without a field goal, leaning on a great defensive effort to never give up its advantage. Milwaukee held NKU to a 2-for-12 showing in the same stretch, never allowing the Norse to gain full momentum.
 
Up next, the Panthers have a week off, returning home to prepare for the big in-state rivalry matchup against Green Bay. Tip off time Saturday against the Phoenix is set for 1 p.m.

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