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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 7 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Calihan Hall (8,295) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television: Comcast Sports 900. Home Record: Milwaukee 6-6, Detroit 8-5. Away Record: Milwaukee 7-6, Detroit 5-11. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 3-1, Detroit 0-0. Conference Record: Milwaukee 6-9, Detroit 6-8. Series Record: Milwaukee leads, 21-20.
GAME NOTES: Milwaukee tries to erase the embarrassment of being the first team in the Horizon League to fall to Illinois-Chicago, as the Panthers turn their attention to the Detroit Titans in league action at Calihan Hall tonight.
Just two nights ago the Panthers were pitted against a Flames squad which had come up empty in 14 Horizon battles this season and had bowed in 17 consecutive games overall, and were not only defeated by UIC at home, the Panthers were blown out of the building in an 89-58 final. The loss was the fourth in a row for the program, which enters play tonight tied for the second-worst conference mark at 6-9.
Meanwhile, the Titans are only slightly better against the rest of the HL, posting a mark of 6-8 after losing to Wright State last Friday night on the road at the Nutter Center. The setback was the second in the last three outings for a team that will close out the regular-season on Saturday against the dominating Green Bay Phoenix at home.
In terms of the all-time series, Milwaukee may lead by a slim 21-20 margin, but it was Detroit that crushed the Panthers on the road in the first meeting of the season last month, 73-54.
Illinois-Chicago was bound to break through in conference play eventually, but no one saw the beat down they delivered on Milwaukee in the cards. Because it was senior night, Jordan Aaron was allowed to play for the Panthers and he finished with 10 points on a mere 2-of-13 shooting from the floor, while Kyle Kelm and Matt Tiby accounted for 12 and 10 points, respectively, for a program that shot a dismal 31.6 percent from the floor.
Unfortunately, Aaron is heading back to the bench for this game, which means the top scoring options for the Panthers are again Kelm and Tiby with season averages of 12.4 ppg apiece. The duo has also combined to clear 11.7 rpg for a program that is falling behind the competition in that department by 2.9 rpg through 29 games.
Leading by as many as nine in the first half last week at Wright State, it appeared the Titans were in good shape for another key conference win, but the second half was not kind to Detroit and the team ended up on the wrong side of a four-point decision. Evan Bruinsma tallied a double-double consisting of 19 points and 12 rebounds, followed by Juwan Howard Jr. with 16 points and eight boards, but beyond those two in the front court there was very little by way of significant contributions coming from the rest of the Titans.
Howard Jr., who leads the program with 52 3-point baskets, is also one of the more aggressive players in the paint with his 5.4 rpg, efforts which have an influence on his team-best 18.6 ppg. Bruinsma checks in with another 12.6 ppg and is tops on the glass with 7.9 rpg as the team takes the lead in that category with a 2.3 rpg advantage over the competition.
Obviously the Panthers want to prove that the loss on Tuesday night was more a fluke than anything else, and with this being the final regular-season outing for Milwaukee it will want to finish off strong.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 69, Detroit 66
02/27 10:15:48 ET
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