As Wisconsin Milwaukee coaches were reviewing an offensive set with their players during Sunday afternoon's practice at Arkansas-Little Rock, something unusual disrupted the Panthers.
The lights at Verizon Arena went out, making it so dark that Milwaukee players couldn't see from one baseline to the other.
"It wasn't pitch black, but it was pretty dark," assistant coach Chad Boudreau said Monday morning. "All the coaches put our cell phones in flashlight mode on the baseline, and that kind of brightened things up a little bit. My batteries are a little lower because of the flashlight mode, but otherwise we were able to work through it."
The lights remained off for the final 45 minutes of Milwaukee's 90-minute practice, only coming back on when one of the few Arkansas-Little Rock staffers on campus on a Sunday managed to fix the problem. None of the Panthers coaches are sure what happened, but their suspicion is the arena lights were on a timer since the shot clocks, scoreboards and lights in the hallways remained on.
"This is the kind of stuff that popped up when I was at junior college basketball," Boudreau said with a chuckle. "I have to say I haven't dealt with this in years. This is our first time dealing with something like this."
Credit the Panthers for taking this in stride, sense of humor intact. The Panthers scrapped their plan for full-court drills in favor of an abbreviated practice with half-court drills and free throws, leading Boudreau to joke that his players may have been better at foul shots in the dark.
Boudreau isn't anticipating the lights going out during Monday night's game, but he knows who would have the advantage if they did.
"If the lights go out during the game, we're prepared for it," Boudreau joked. "We practiced in that environment. We worked through it. We definitely have the upper hand."