A 24-9 start by Milwaukee in the opening 10 minutes was too much to overcome as the Wright State men's basketball team fell to the Panthers 69-63 in the Horizon League Championship game Tuesday night at WSU's Nutter Center.
Milwaukee came out strong, scoring the first four points of the game and hitting eight of its first 11 shots, including four of five three-pointers, in building a 24-9 advantage 10 minutes into the contest. WSU chipped away at the deficit and only trailed 34-29 with five minutes left before the Panthers closed the period with a 9-4 run, five coming from Kyle Kelm, to go up 43-33 at the break.
The Raiders actually had a higher field goal percentage in the first half as they shot 48 percent compared to Milwaukee's 45 percent, but the Panthers were five of 10 from behind the arc and 12 of 13 at the foul line while Wright State was three of eight from three and eight of 11 at the stripe.
WSU opened the second half with a 10-4 burst, four each from Cole Darling and AJ Pacher, to draw to within four at 47-43, only to see UWM again push the lead back into double figures with an 8-2 run thanks in part to threes by Jordan Aaron and Matt Tiby.
Wright State made one last run as an 11-2 spurt, five those from Jerran Young, made it 67-63 with 1:03 remaining, but could get no closer as two Aaron foul shots with 31.5 seconds left rounded out the scoring.
The Raiders outshot Milwaukee for the game 47-39 percent, but the Panthers hit nine of 18 threes and were 16 of 18 at the line while WSU was five of 17 from three and 14 of 17 at the line. UWM led 11-6 in second-chance points thanks to a 13-5 differential in offensive rebounds.
Pacher led Wright State (20-14) with 16 points while Matt Vest had 11 and Reggie Arceneaux nine off the bench.
Kelm paced Milwaukee (21-13), who won its first Horizon League Tournament title since 2006, with a near double-double of 20 points and nine rebounds while Aaron had 18 and Austin Arians 12.
Horizon League All-Tournament Team
Jordan Aaron, Milwaukee (MVP)
Kyle Kelm, Milwaukee
Miles Dixon, Wright State
AJ Pacher, Wright State
Matt Tiby, Milwaukee