Wis.-Milwaukee 61, Loyola, Ill., 58
MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Shannon Smith and Mark Briggs scored 16 points each to help Wisconsin-Milwaukee beat Loyola 61-58 Monday night.
With the win, the Panthers avoided a first-round matchup with No. 22 Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament and instead gave Loyola that spot.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (9-17 overall and 5-11 in the MCC) finished tied for sixth place in the league with Loyola and Illinois-Chicago, but because of tiebreakers, the Panthers go into the tournament as the sixth seed, facing Northern Illinois.
Loyola (8-18 and 5-11) dropped to the eighth seed, which means the Ramblers face top seed Green Bay during the tournament March 2-5 at Wright State.
Loyola was led by Joe Estes with 16 points Monday night.
The Ramblers trailed 36-26 early in the second half but fought back for a 50-49 lead on a basket by Estes with about eight minutes left.
After several lead changes, a basket by Derek Molis gave Loyola a 58-55 lead, but a pair of free throws by Shannon Smith and then a basket by Roderick Johnson with 2:55 left put the Panthers ahead again 59-58. Johnson added a tip-in basket with 23 seconds left to put Wisconsin-Milwaukee up 61-58 for the final points of the game.
It was the final home game for five seniors _ Shannon Smith, Briggs, Derek Durham, Jutiki Smith and Scott Dougherty.