Thu. Final: UWM 71, Detroit 62
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- It's the kind of victory Wisconsin-Milwaukee Coach Rob Jeter likes, one with a lot of heroes.
"It was good to see that we had positive minutes from a lot of guys," Jeter said after his team beat Detroit 71-62 in the Horizon League opener for both teams Thursday night.
Tone Boyle scored 21 points and Anthony Hill 16 to lead the Panthers but that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Tony Meier and James Eayrs both added nine points. Meier also had nine rebounds and four blocks and Eayrs blocked two more shots.
Avery Smith dished out seven assists as the Panthers (4-4) snapped a three-game losing streak that included losses to state rivals Wisconsin and Marquette.
Jeter said the victory erased the psychological pain of losing.
"Tonight was a big game for us in terms of confidence," Jeter said.
The same could not be said for the Titans (2-4), who had leads in both halves.
First-year coach Ray McCallum said his players still need to learn how to play together.
"We've got guys who haven't had a lot of court time together," McCallum said. "We're getting to know each other. We just haven't had the time and competition together that the teams we've played (have). I think that's part of our problems with the lapses."
Xavier Keeling scored 19 points, Woody Payne 17 and Donavan Foster 11 for the Titans.
"We lost focus. We lost our intensity. We didn't play hard," Keeling said. "We're having a rough time finishing games. It's something we have to work on."
The clubs were tied at the half, and the Titans scored the first five points of the second period. The Titans were still up 44-41 midway through the half when the Panthers outscored them 12-2 to go ahead for good at 53-46 with 8:13 left. A 3-pointer by Deion James capped the run.
Boyle said the victory showed that the Panthers, who like Detroit have a lot of new players including Boyle and Ayers, are learning from the mistakes they made in recent losses.
"The losses hurt, but we all knew we were trying to grow as a team," Boyle said.
One of the players who came on strong against Detroit was Ayers, a hefty 6-foot-7, 340-pounder who muscled his way into the post for all nine of his points in the final five minutes.
The victory gave Milwaukee a 16-15 lead in the all-time series between the schools.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)