The top-seeded and regular season Horizon League Champion Green Bay Phoenix had the table set. After a double-bye into the
semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament, the Phoenix had their semifinal matchup against UW-Milwaukee on their home court at the Resch Center. One victory would get Green Bay into the championship game on Tuesday night in Green Bay.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, the UW-Milwaukee Panthers had something to say about it. For the second time this season, the Panthers marched into the Resch Center and knocked off the home team, 73-66 in overtime. Milwaukee advances to the title game at Wright State on Tuesday night and it leaves the Green Bay Phoenix without any guarantee of a spot in the NCAA tournament field and a more likely spot in the post-season NIT.
Senior guard Jordan Aaron hit a free throw to give the Panthers the lead with 2:10 left in overtime, then buried a jumper that put them up five with 22-seconds to play to help secure the win. Aaron finished with 28 points to lead all-scorers.
Green Bay (24-6) couldn’t throw it in the ocean to start the game. They missed their first seven shots and 11 of the first 13, trailing
28-19 at halftime.
They hit just 6 of 27 from the field (22%) in the first half and were 0 for 5 from distance. Horizon League Player of the Year Keifer Sykes and Defensive Player of the Year Alec Brown combined to go 0 for 10 from the field in the first half.
Sykes suffered a knee injury in practice the day before, then sprained his ankle in the first half of last night’s game. Brown suffered a shoulder injury halfway through the first half. Both players played through the injuries, but clearly weren’t the same players that helped Green Bay win the regular season league title.
Green Bay still managed to take a 50-48 lead with 5:40 to play and they were up by 4 with just over 2-minutes left. But the Panthers fought back to force the overtime.
The only player that shot well for Green Bay was Greg Mays who made 7 of 10 from the field and scored 17 points.
Milwaukee (20-13) Will face Wright State in Tuesday night’s championship. The 3rd seeded Raiders beat 2nd seeded Cleveland State 68-63 in the first semifinal game of the night.
7,113 fans were in attendance for the two semifinal games at the Resch Center on Saturday night.