MILWAUKEE, WI (LEARFIELD-WSAU) U-W Milwaukee will make its first N-C-A-A men's basketball tournament appearance since 2006, after winning at Wright State 69-to-63 last night to claim the Horizon League title. It continues a remarkable turnaround for the Panthers, who only won eight games last year and were picked to finish last in the conference this season.
Milwaukee led the entire way, after jumping out to a 19-7 start. They scored only one basket in the final eight minutes and still hung on to win its fifth straight game. Kyle Kelm scored 20 points for U-W-M. Jordan Aaron had 18, and was named the tournament's M-V-P after missing four games at the end of the regular season for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
The Panthers made 9-of-18 shots from three-point range. They out-rebounded Wright State 35-28. And Milwaukee committed just 10 turnovers.
A-J Pacher scored 16 for Wright State, which ended a six-game winning streak and fell to 20-and-14. U-W-M will represent the Horizon League in next week's Big Dance despite going just 7-and-9 in conference play.
The Panthers had the fifth seed, and were the first team lower than third to win the Horizon tourney in its current format. At 21-and-13, Milwaukee will now get ready for its fourth N-C-A-A appearance. It will learn its seed and opening opponent on Selection Sunday.