Victory puts UWM one game from NCAA Tournament

The UWM men’s basketball team is one win away from its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014.

UWM rallied from a 15-point first-half deficit for an 82-75 win over Northern Kentucky in Monday night’s Horizon League Tournament semifinals at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.

The sixth-seeded Panthers face regular season champion Oakland in the Horizon tourney finals 6 p.m. tonight, with the winner securing an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

For those who want to see the game in-person, a Championship Fan Bus leaves from the Klotsche Center 11 a.m., and it’s free to the first 50 UWM students, who should have their student ID card. Students will still have to purchase tickets at the stadium, and the bus will return to Milwaukee after the game.

Faizon Fields had 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for the Panthers. “Faizon was huge. It seemed like every big rebound that we needed, he got it,” UWM coach Bart Lundy said. BJ Freeman led UWM with 27 points, including 22 in the second half.

UWM (20-14, 12-8 Horizon) has secured its second consecutive 20-win season under second-year coach Lundy. UWM is riding a six-game winning streak, its longest run of victories since 2014. It’s also UWM’s first trip to the Horizon League finals since the Panthers nearly completed a miracle run as an 11-win 10th seed in 2017.

Top-seeded Oakland (22-11, 15-5 Horizon) reached the Horizon League title game with a 74-71 win over Cleveland State. The Golden Grizzlies swept the regular-season series against UWM, but both games were close, with Oakland winning 100-95 at home on Jan. 4 and 91-87 on Jan. 27 in Milwaukee.

Read more about Monday’s win and watch video highlights at the Milwaukee Athletics website.

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