Without star forward Tony Meier for a few more weeks with a calf injury and star point guard Kaylon Williams to a one-game suspension, the Milwaukee Panthers had trouble establishing themselves on both sides of the floor in a 71-65 victory over the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs on Saturday afternoon.
Milwaukee was led by Ja’Rob McCallum and Ryan Allen in scoring, with each dropping in 16 points apiece. The Panthers also got nine points and 17 rebounds by James Haarsma, who practically lived on the offensive end with different Mustangs draped all over him.
The Panthers had to get through a major shooting funk to begin the game, and didn’t establish a decent lead until the waning moments of the first half. Mitch Roelke led the charge by hitting two three-pointers, one with seconds remaining, to put the Panthers up 33-24.
Milwaukee reached a lead of about 18 points at one point in the second half before losing their way. The Mustangs had their way on the offensive end, finding open driving lanes for most of the second half. Help defense in the post struggled for Milwaukee.
The Panthers offense struggled without their starting point guard to give direction. With Williams sidelined, point guard duties were spread between McCallum and Paris Gulley, who each scored well but are not point guards. Gulley had major trouble dribbling to his left and got caught several times, and the team overall was susceptible to the press for a few possessions until they figured it out.
The Panthers hit the road tomorrow, squaring off against Northern Illinois in DeKalb on Monday night at 7 p.m.