2002-03

2003-04 NIT Second Round 2002-03-team-photo

 

Picked in most places to win their first-ever Division I league title and earn a berth to the NCAA Tournament, the Panthers lived up to those lofty expectations. In fact, Milwaukee’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament exceeded expectations.

The path to the league title was a roller-coaster of emotions. On the final day of the regular season, Butler beat Milwaukee, 76-74, on a three-point shot at the buzzer to snatch away the Panthers’ hopes of a regular-season crown. But, 10 days later in front of more than 10,000 fans in Milwaukee, Milwaukee earned revenge and the league tournament title with an impressive 69-52 win over those same Bulldogs.

So it was on to Indianapolis and the NCAA Tournament. The Panthers drew Notre Dame, ensuring the game would be one of the most-watched in the first round.

And, the game would be played in the RCA Dome, meaning it would be played in front of the largest crowd to ever see a Milwaukee basketball game (21,250). Finally, there was the game itself, tight throughout and decided in the closing seconds. Milwaukee started the game slowly and actually trailed by seven late in the first half and, after rallying to tie the game at halftime, fell back down eight in the second half. But the Panthers scored the next 10 points to take the lead and, after back-to-back threes by Justin Lettenberger and Jason Frederick, Milwaukee led 69-68 with 2:28 remaining.
The Irish took the lead back on a tip-in with 32.9 seconds remaining, leading the Panthers to hold for a final shot. That last chance saw Clay Tucker find Dylan Page clear inside, but Page’s short shot rolled off the rim as time expired.

 

Marcus Conigliaro Chris Hill Derek Huff Adam Finley Jason Frederick

Fernando Johnson Ronnie Jones Kalombo Kadima Justin Lettenberger Nate Mielke
Dylan Page Mark Pancratz Rob Sanders Clay Tucker Dan Weisse
Jose Winston Adrian Tigert Joah Tucker James Wright Redshirt