MILWAUKEE – This was not how this was supposed to go.
The Milwaukee Panthers men’s basketball team had been riding high; winners of four of their last five games, hosting last place Green Bay, who hadn’t won a game since Dec. 10, firing head coach Will Ryan along the way.
Instead, Green Bay played fearless basketball in edging Milwaukee in overtime Monday Night at Panther Arena, 80-79. The loss drops UWM into a second-place tie with Northern Kentucky at 10-4 in Horizon League play. Youngstown State, at 11-3, is alone in first place.
"It goes back to our edge, how I prepared them,” coach Bart Lundy told reporters after the game. “We didn’t have the edge we usually have. Maybe having IUPUI (last week Thursday) and Green Bay at this point in the season isn’t good for us.”
Conversely, for interim Phoenix coach Freddie Owens made sure his team knew exactly what this game meant to him.
The former Milwaukee Washington star and Wisconsin Badgers star guard estimates that of the 75-ticket complimentary allotment, some 60 went to his family and friends.
"Words can’t describe it," Owens said after the game. "Never in a million years did I think I would be coaching and getting my first win coaching Division I basketball back where it all started.”
Milwaukee’s B.J. Freeman led all scorers with 28 points; Randy Tucker’s 20 led Green Bay.
Green Bay returns home to host Oakland on Thursday. Milwaukee returns home to play Detroit Mercy on Thursday.