Off kilter

Sometimes the shots just don’t go your way.

In forty minutes of basketball, the Milwaukee Panthers held one of the nation’s highest scoring basketball teams to just 64 points.  It was a game that was played better than the final score showed.  64-50 is what the box score reads, but this team was doing a lot of things right.

Buzz Williams got the maximum effort from his squad, led by Junior Cadougan with 15 points (AP Photo).

Milwaukee took 28 three-point shots.  About 20 of them were open shots that should have been canned; four were.  There’s the story of the basketball game, right there in front of everyone.  If Milwaukee shoots anywhere near its season average from three (35.1%), they win this game tonight. The shooting percentage would have made us 10-for-28, not 4-for-28 as the team actually shot.  That’s an 18-point swing.  I think 18 more points for Milwaukee might have made things a little closer.
It’s as simple as that.

Tony Meier was 0-10 from the floor on the night, nine of which came from outside the arc.  This isn’t the Tony Meier that we’re accustomed to seeing; his shots weren’t falling.  Hell, his shots sometimes didn’t even hit the rim – I counted four airballs from the senior forward.  But this is what I know about Tony Meier.  Nine times out of ten, he’s going to make four of ten field goals – his record speaks for itself.  While Marquette is no slouch defensively, they did not play Tony Meier perfectly.  His shot was off.  I got the feeling that if only he could get one to fall, it’s be like opening the flood gates.  That shot never fell.  You can’t fault a guy for not hitting his shots when most nights he gives you the points you need.  Everyone has off nights.  Pete Maravich had nights where he would score 10 points on 3-for-55 shooting.

Ryan Allen is getting better and better every game. The NBA might be in his future. (AP)

Kyle Kelm came back to play in the starting lineup, picked up two quick fouls and didn’t come back until the second half, where he wowed the crowd with a couple great athletic moves.  If he were 100%, I think we would have seen a lot more out of him.  At least he has another week to keep getting healthy!

For me, the real emerging player is Ryan Allen.  His defense on DJO and offensive game really showed how he’s improving even now.

Looking back at the game, Kaylon Williams got called for four turnovers when I only counted two.  They must have counted the missed hand-offs from James and Demetrius Harris as turnovers for Kaylon.  I thought he had a solid game overall; if that three hits near the end of the first half and we go up 28-27, we have all the momentum and the game could look a lot different.

Speaking of looking a lot different – who expected Junior Cadougan to lead Marquette in scoring?  He’s a talented guy, but Vander Blue and Darius Johnson-Odom would have gotten my money to lead MU before Cadougan.  It goes to show how well Blue and DJO were defended by Kaylon Williams and Ryan Allen.

Tony Meier and the Panthers were cold from the field, but they held one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country to just 64 points.

So here’s to the Panthers.  A wonderful defensive effort that led to us having an opportunity to win in the last five minutes, but slipping away due to an off-shooting night.  Am I disappointed that we didn’t win?  Absolutely.  But with all of its built in advantages – the Al McGuire Center to our Klotsche Arena shared with six other sports, the Bradley Center they have their pick of dates in to our U.S. Cellular Arena and our lower-class status to the Circus and Disney on Ice – Marquette was scarcely the better team tonight.

They’re lucky they caught the Panthers on an off-shooting night.  God help Valpo, the Black and Gold are coming in with a huge chip on their shoulder.

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