Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Flames-Panthers Rematch

December 24, 2003 Columns No Comments

Illinois-Chicago at UW-Milwaukee: A heated rivalry reunited

by Nick Dettmann

MILWAUKEE – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther fans can remember the beating UWM gave to Butler in the Horizon League conference championship game last season. But not many will recall how they got to that all-important game.

On March 8, 2003, the Horizon League semi-final game pitted the host UW-Milwaukee Panthers against the Illinois-Chicago Flames. Two teams and two coaches that hate each other gritted out the most exciting game of the tournament as UWM pulled away with a 75-73 win in Milwaukee last year.

Now, a new season and new teams, well for one of them for that matter, saw the two teams reunite in the opening conference game for both schools. Illinois-Chicago, who returned all five of their starters from that squad last year made their annual visit to Milwaukee to take on the Panthers.

Early on, it was much like how the intense rivalry was meant to be as each team punched, clawed and roughed each other up. But after a big run mid-way through the second half, the Panthers were able to deliver the loud first round punch with a convincing 78-62 win last night from the U.S. Cellular Arena in front of 4,089 spectators.

The three meetings last year were simply dog fights right from start to finish. UIC won the first meeting last season at the UIC Pavilion 102-92. Then, the two meetings in Milwaukee were won by the Panthers by a total of five points.

“I thought it would be a close game and very physical and it started off just like that,” UWM’s Dylan Page said. “Punch for punch, blow for blow, it was just back and forth in the first half for the most part.

“It’s that type of rivalry it has become now. I think us and UIC have a much more intense one than I think anyone else does. It’s a game that is fun for the fans to watch.”

In the first 10 minutes of the game, it was that tight, physical match-up that was anticipated as neither team led by more than five points. But with the Flames up 18-17 with 11:51 to go, the Panthers reeled off nine straight points to take a 26-18 lead with 8:28 to go.

The bad blood began to show mid-way through the half as Cedrick Banks and Dylan Page collided, leaving Banks and Page with heavy-duty bandages.

“I was trying to come off an up-screen,” Page said. “We just took the wrong paths and collided.”

For the remainder of the first half, UIC could not muster themselves back into within six points and would go into the locker room trailing by seven. But they did get a huge momentum booster as the horn sounded.

Banks would fire a long-range three-point jumper, but Richard Lesko would get the rebound and do a nifty reverse put-back as the horn sounded.

But the second half drew some early jitters from the Panthers sideline. UIC would go on a quick 7-2 run in the first three minutes of the half, forcing UWM head coach Bruce Pearl to call not one, but two time-outs.

“Early in the second half, for whatever reason, we didn’t have it and they came out sharp,” Pearl said. “I called two timeouts prepared to call five timeouts. I just didn’t want to give up the lead. I never call a time-out.

“I felt like we needed to sure some things up and hang onto the lead. They hung in there an took a real solid punch from them early and I think that was the key.”

After that second time-out, with the score tied at 46 with 17:04 to go, the Panthers woke up and went on a 20-6 run over the next eight plus minutes to put the game out of reach.

“It was an embarrassing trip, very embarrassing,” UIC head coach Jimmy Collins said. “But you got to give credit where credit is due. They were tougher, more athletic and they were awfully dog-gone quick.

“They just beat us in every way. Good effort on their part, very poor on ours.”

For UWM, it is their first of three very important conference games that will be played at home without the students having class.

“We feel very badly that we got to play three very important conference games (tonight, Jan. 5 against Detroit and Jan. 8 against Butler) when the students aren’t here,” Pearl said. “I work for the student body and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. These guys are student-athletes and for their friends not to see them is unfortunate.

“It wasn’t ideal,” Pearl said about playing such a big conference game so early in the season. “I thought the crowd was terrific again tonight. My athletic director Bud Haidet has tried to help me take issue with our conference as it relates to our conference schedule that we have been handed. But you got to play the games.”

The second installment of this season series will be a much awaited one. The two will reunite on Thursday, Feb. 5 in Chicago in which UIC will play their second consecutive big conference game as they will play at Butler five days earlier.


Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 23, 2018

March 23, 2018 by

We’re halfway through the regional finals, and a wild season of college basketball continues apace quite appropriately.

College Basketball Tonight – March 19, 2018

March 20, 2018 by

We discuss the wild early rounds of the NCAA Tournament, joined by special guest Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal for one segment. In addition, we touch on coaching news and other issues surrounding the college game.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 17, 2018

March 17, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, there is one main story to focus on: history being made in Charlotte and its aftermath. But we also talk about tough times for the Pac-12 and a key member school, plus an added challenge ahead at Pittsburgh.

College Basketball Tonight – March 11, 2018

March 12, 2018 by

College Basketball Tonight returns with a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament bracket, and in the second segment Mount St. Mary’s head coach Jamion Christian joins us.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – March 10, 2018

March 10, 2018 by

As Championship Week nears its climax on the big Saturday, we look at a pair of semifinals and a lot of bubble teams that may be sweating it out on Sunday.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.