Monday, November 29, 2004

UWM Takes on the Military

Sunday afternoon, it was time to cap the weekend off with a trip to see UW-Milwaukee play Air Force at the Mecca. UWM eeked out a hard-fought win against a very, very methodical Air Force team. I'd explain it more, but the bullet points will hopefully illustrate what went on:

1) If you had told me that UWM, averaging 102 points per game coming into this contest would score only 50 points, I would have told you that they would be losing today. In fact, the Panthers won 50-45, with both teams combining to score less than a typical Panther squad alone. Air Force was almost painfully patient, milking the shot clock for all 35 seconds several times, and getting their fair share of offensive rebounds. I don't believe I've ever heard the shot clock buzzer go off so many times in one game. UWM played surprisingly good defense to make this happen, of course. Air Force controlled the tempo, but in the end, it would not be enough.

2) UWM games have to be one of the best deals in Milwaukee. On the day of the game, two friends and I were able to walk up to the ticket window and purchase tickets located at mid-court for $15. And, there was plenty of room to spread out, since there weren’t a ton of people in our section. I could have even parked for free on the street, had I not been running late. Marquette is still the marquee team, but UWM is definitely a better deal (and perhaps the better team this year, too).

3) One of the best promotional games that I’ve ever seen during a time-out took place in the second half. Teams of two competed against one another to see who could catch the most rubber chickens, propelled by one of those t-shirt sling-shots, in a laundry basket. This was inspired promotion by Popeye’s Chicken. My friend Jerry even commented that he thought he was watching Double Dare, which is always a good sign, even if there’s no vat of oversized mashed potatoes around. The wizards at the University of Wisconsin could learn a thing or two from this. Then again, I’m sure there are some people who enjoy the "Who can stack these books higher?" competition or the "Blindfolded student looks for ringing cell phone on the court" promotion.

4) I have seen the future of basketball in Milwaukee, and it is named Dwayne Wilson, Jr. Wilson dominated the pee-wee basketball game at halftime as Milwaukee AAU pitched a shutout on the Detroit Superfriends. Playing at another speed than the others on the floor, Wilson tallied 6 points, and the only assist of the game on a no-look pass through the lane. Look for him to be dominating 3rd grade YMCA leagues this winter, and to be starting for Milwaukee King in 2011-12.

5) Sometimes you’ll go to a game and one fan will really stand out for his or her ignorance of what he or she is watching, and there was certainly a man who fit that bill sitting behind me yesterday. The gentleman, who was the only person in our section cheering loudly for Air Force, was quite vocal about his perceived shortcomings of the referees, calling out the men in stripes at some of the most confusing times possible. Perhaps the pinnacle of his foolishness came with 47 seconds left in the game, when he began complaining about a foul call on one of Air Force’s guards during a UWM inbounds play. Given that Air Force was trying to foul to stop the clock at this point, and the foul in question occurred before the clock had even started, it would seem to be a bonus for Air Force to take such a foul. Not to this guy, however–it was part of the vast conspiracy on the part of the officials to steal the game from Air Force. At least he was good for a laugh.


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