If you’re not a follower of social media, you might have been aghast at the amount of vitriol being spewed on Twitter and Facebook following the loss tonight. After winning for most of the game, the Milwaukee Panthers caved to the Detroit Titans and at-the-very-least-questionable officiating, 58-57.
I’m not gonna lie, I was one of the masses waving pitchforks, ready to metaphorically put Bo Boroski’s head on a pike. That was until cooler heads prevailed, I ate a quiet dinner of sesame chicken and stewed over the loss.
It is good for you to take a step back and put the game in perspective, then try to see if your initial beliefs were valid.
Initially, I got mad at a lot of things. I got mad that Detroit was allowed to hang in there, through our own free throw woes at the end of the game and poor officiating. I got mad that we put up a bad shot at the end of regulation.
But when you cool off, you gain perspective. After a second viewing of the game, this is what I know:
The Panthers would have won if two or three key referee calls were either no-calls or went the other way. The block call on James Haarsma that led to his technical absolutely should have been a charge – his feet were set and he was outside the circle. Ray McCallum Jr. was the one to tip the ball out in our second-to-last possession, not Paris Gulley. I watched it seven times, and it wasn’t until the fourth viewing that I was certain it was Jr., so you can’t quite blame the referees for that one.
But the truth is, had Milwaukee not played so sloppy, kept down the turnovers and saved some timeouts for the final minute, this game would not have been close. Like missed free throws lost the Black and Gold victories at Youngstown State, at Butler and home against Wisconsin, this game was lost by not taking care of the ball.
So here we stand, one day away from another difficult road game at Wright State’s Nutter Center, a place we haven’t won at since Ed McCants was our starting shooting guard.
This is the conclusion I’ve come to. Milwaukee has to play so much better than the competition that nothing can snatch victory from their grasp. Make it so spread out that missing free throws, poor officiating, and a sudden shooting efficiency have no shot at changing the outcome of the game.
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