UWM’s successful season falls just short of NCAA Tournament

So close. So agonizingly close.

A trip to the NCAA Tournament was on the line. The UWM men’s basketball team was tied at 70 with Oakland with less than three minutes left in the championship game of the Horizon League Tournament Tuesday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

But Oakland, which also took the regular season Horizon League title, made more plays down the stretch and won the game, 83-76, and with it the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

It would have been UWM’s first NCAA Tournament since 2014. Still, it was a largely successful season for the Panthers under second-year head coach Bart Lundy.

“For us, we won 20 games again for the second year in a row,” Lundy said. “It’s the first time our program has done that since 2006. We are making progress, but it’s not where we want to be. We really wanted the city of Milwaukee to experience the NCAA Tournament. The city really is desperate for it.

“We are the city’s school and we take a lot of pride in that. But we will get there. You have a lot of breakthroughs as you’re building. We broke through to the final four last year and got to the championship game this year. Everything changes when you get a breakthrough, and we will keep fighting for that.”

Erik Pratt led UWM with 16 points, followed by Kentrell Pullian with 15 and BJ Freeman with 14. Freeman set a Horizon League record for most points in the league tournament with 103. He and UWM’s Faizon Fields made the all-tournament team, along with Trey Townsend and Jack Gohlke of Oakland and Trey Robinson of Northern Kentucky.

Go to Milwaukee Athletics for more coverage, including stats and video.

Top Stories