Sunday, February 5, 2017

UIC Flames 105 at UW-Milwaukee Panthers 100 (OT, NCAA Basketball, Horizon League) - February 4, 2017

After checking out the Admirals on Friday night, I returned to UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday afternoon to see the namesake team take to the hardwood. I talked about the venue in detail in the previous post, so won't add much here. I'll just include a few more pictures to give you a better idea of how cool this place is. Check out the old-style font on Arena below.

The ticket booth is smartly designed too.

The Panthers are not nearly as popular as the Admirals, with attendance at this game about 1/4 of what it was the night before. Thus many of the good concession stands are closed, and the concourse is usually completely empty.

This does allow you to take photos of the small display along one wall of the concourse, which includes all of the arena's tenants.

The Panthers have one huge accomplishment, when they made the Sweet Sixteen in 2005, beating Alabama and Boston College before falling to eventual runner up Illinois. In 2006, they beat Oklahoma in the first round before losing to Florida, who took the title that year. Their other successes are honoured on banners, as you can see below.

With so few fans, the 400 section is covered with tarp...

... as are the upper seats behind the nets.

The small crowd also means that there is no reason to pay more than $10 for the cheap seats and just move up as the ushers don't bother checking tickets.

I like the claws on the court motif. The court matches the seating quite nicely as well.

There are two scoreboards in the corner that show team stats during the game, while the overhead scoreboard shows live video during the action. The mascot, Pounce, and the cheerleaders try to get the crowd into it, but with just 1,600 here, that's easier said than done. Nothing wrong with it here, just not enough fans to give it a memorable atmosphere. If you want to see a game at Panther Arena, Admirals hockey is your better bet.

The Game

The UIC Flames (11-12 overall, 4-6 in Horizon League play) had driven up from Chicago for this one, having beaten the Panthers (8-16, 4-7) a couple of weeks before down in the Windy City. The home team took a 5-2 lead but a quick 9-0 Flames run that resulted in the only lead change of the entire game. The Panthers tied things at 11, but then fell behind by 8 before tying the game again at 28. A 14-4 run by UIC allowed them to take a 44-37 lead into the half with both teams shooting better than 50% from the floor.

The second half started with UIC's Godwin Boahen, a Toronto native, draining a three to start what would be an exemplary display of long-range shooting from both teams. The Flames at one point hit six in a row as they took a 13-point lead, but the Panthers made a few of their own to get within 6. With 45 seconds left, the Flames led 85-78 after a couple of Michael Kolawole free throws. But Jeremiah Bell drained a quick three to cut the lead to 4. The Flames fouled Dominique Matthews, who missed the one-and-one, allowing the Panthers to drive back. Brock Stull missed a jumper but grabbed his own rebound and was fouled. He made both shots and suddenly it was 85-83. The Panthers then pressed on the inbounds pass and forced a turnover by Tarkus Ferguson. Stull was again fouled and again made both shots to tie the game. A last second shot from Matthews missed and for the second day in a row, I was treated to some free sports.

In overtime, Ferguson made up for his turnover by scoring the first 7 points for UIC, but again the Panthers clawed back, making it 95-93 on a Stull trey. After Matthews completed a three-point play, Stull hit a jumper and it was 98-95 UIC with 41 seconds left. At that point, UWM decided to foul (not sure why, they should have tried for the stop) and the Flames clinched it by hitting 7 of their final 8 free throws as they won 105-100. Stull led all scorers with 30 points, while Ferguson had a career-high 25, with 12 of those coming in overtime.

This was a very good game, with both teams shooting over 50% from the floor and 80% from the line. The Flames finished 15/28 from downtown and 61% overall, the main reason they won as they were outrebounded 32-27. It's just too bad that so few fans were around to see it.


Mascots were found wandering the concourse before the game, including Bernie Brewer, who probably can't wait to head to spring training in Arizona.

The mascots played a game at halftime, with the sausages (who race at Miller Park) taking on the other mascots from the area. The Sausages won 4-2, helped by their height advantage.



1 comment:

  1. It's always a joy reading your posts, Sean. I'm chuckling at the mascot game commentary and photo. Meg