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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Calihan Hall (8,295) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Milwaukee 4-2, Detroit 7-0. Away Record: Milwaukee 0-6, Detroit 1-5. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 0-2, Detroit 0-0. Conference Record: Milwaukee 0-0, Detroit 0-0. Series Record: Milwaukee leads, 21-17.
GAME NOTES: Horizon League action tips off in the Motor City on Thursday night, as the Detroit Titans play host to the Milwaukee Panthers at Calihan Hall.
Considering Milwaukee has won at least 19 games in each of the past three season, its 4-10 start is highly disappointing. The Panthers had been on a streak of nine losses in 10 games before bouncing back last Saturday with a home win against Ohio Dominican (95-80), but they are still winless on the road.
While Milwaukee has been falling fast, Detroit has followed up its 2012 Horizon League Tournament Championship with an 8-5 start this year. The Titans have played especially well of late, with wins in two straight and six of their last seven, having most recently downed visiting Canisius last Sunday (83-78) to improve to 7-0 at Calihan Hall.
These two squads split a pair of matchups last season, with Detroit winning the last bout in nail-biting fashion, 58-57. Milwaukee holds a 21-17 advantage in the all-time series.
Milwaukee came out firing in its 15-point win over Ohio Dominican, making 30- of-67 shots from the field (.448) and 26-of-33 from the foul line (.788) on its way to its highest point total of the season. Providing a spark off the bench was Jordan Aaron, who drilled 9-of-15 from the floor (including 4-of-8 from 3-point range) while connecting on all 12 of his free throw attempts for a career-high 34 points, the most points for a Panthers' player in a game since 2006. Paris Gulley was also outstanding in the victory with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Demetrius Harris and James Haarsma added 14 and 12 points, respectively. On the season, scoring has not come easily for the Panthers, as they net just 63.4 ppg on less than 38 percent field goal efficiency. Despite their struggles, they still possess one of the best scoring duos in the league in Aaron (15.6 ppg, 4.1 apg) and Gulley (15.1 ppg), although neither shoots greater than 39 percent from the field.
Detroit was able to overcome a halftime deficit to take down a nine-win Canisius squad thanks in large part to winning the turnover battle (23-11) and putting together an impressive 20-of-25 showing from the foul line. All five starters scored in double figures for the Titans, led by arguably the Horizon League's best player, Ray McCallum, who tallied 22 points and seven assists. There is little doubt that McCallum is the league's most productive offensive performer, as he ranks first in both scoring (18.8 ppg) and assists (5.0 apg) while committing fewer than two turnovers per contest. Jason Calliste shot 6- of-8 against Canisius for 19 points, Nick Minnerath added 16 points, and Doug Anderson and Juwan Howard, Jr. each finished with 13. Detroit's 77.1 ppg ranks first in the league, and all five starters have played every game and each averages double-digits in scoring. All are capable of knocking down a 3-point pointer, but Calliste (13.1 ppg) and Howard, Jr. (10.8 ppg) are the most potent, combing for 51 of the team's 112 long-range buckets.
Detroit has been playing up to its potential of late, and it has proven that, even if it does have one of the best players in the league in McCallum, it is far from a one-man show. The Titans should have little problem shooting past the Panthers in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 78, Milwaukee 67
01/03 10:44:43 ET