The 2014 Horizon League Tournament title was supposed to belong to the
Green Bay Phoenix. That that’s why they play the games.
Given a double bye straight to the semifinals, the Phoenix got plenty of rest, while the Milwaukee Panthers, picked to finish dead last in a preseason poll, had to win two games just to get to the semifinals.
After beating Green Bay at the Resch Center earlier this season and losing an overtime game at home to the Phoenix, the Panthers were out to prove they could do it again, and they did. The Panthers beat Green Bay in the Horizon League semifinals 73-66 in overtime on Friday night at the Resch Center and earned the right to face Wright State for the league title last night.
Once again, the Panthers came up big, completing a 4-game run with a
69-63 victory over Wright State on the Raiders home floor in Dayton, Ohio. Now it’s Milwaukee, heading back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
The 5th-seeded Panthers became the first team seeded lower than third to win the Horizon League tournament in its current format.
The Panthers most likely will be a low seed, probably no better than a 15-seed when the Tournament pairings are released early Sunday evening.
Kyle Kelm led the Panthers with 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Jordan Aaron had 18 points.
The Green Bay Phoenix are painting the picture of gloom. By winning their regular season title, Green Bay has an automatic spot in the NIT field. There are those that feel the Phoenix still has a chance to land an at-large spot in the NCAA field. It’s unfortunate for them, that the regular season title means very little. Meanwhile, for the Panthers, it’s fortunate for them that post-season tournaments are relevant because it’s given them an invite to the dance.