GAME NOTES: The Milwaukee Panthers will try to scratch out just their third Horizon League win of the season on Wednesday, as they entertain the Flames of Illinois-Chicago at the Klotsche Center.
Playing all of their home games at their on-campus facility for the first time in 10 years, the Panthers haven't had a ton of success at the Klotsche Center in 2012-13 with six wins in 13 opportunities. Unfortunately, Milwaukee has had to hit the road as well where it is still winless, thanks to an 88-67 thumping at Cleveland State on Sunday. The loss was the second in a row and the ninth in the last 10 outings for a team that is all alone at the bottom of the HL standings at 2-12.
Meanwhile, the Flames are still in the bottom half of the league standings with a mark of 6-7 after losing three of their last four games. Last Saturday UIC was defeated by Loyola-Chicago on the road in a 69-60 decision, less than a week after being extended to three overtimes by Youngstown State in an 88-83 win.
Entering this meeting, the Panthers lead the all-time series by a count of 39-24, but UIC managed to snap a 10-game slide versus Milwaukee with a 60-50 victory at home in the first matchup of the season.
The Flames managed to battle back from a 16-point deficit in the second half to a mere four points against Loyola, but the Ramblers refused to give up that easily as they eventually handed the visitors the nine-point setback. Marc Brown came off the bench to score a season-high 13 points for UIC, followed by Gary Talton and Hayden Humes with 10 points apiece, the former also handing out eight assists while turning the ball over only once.
On the season overall, the Flames have kept scoring to a minimum at both ends of the court, so much so that they have scored the exact same amount (1,618) as the competition, which works out to 62.2 ppg. Talton is not only the top scorer for the group with 13.3 ppg, but he is also first with 107 assists and 41 steals, all while pulling down close to four rebounds per game as he tries his hardest to push the team into the win column.
The Panthers were even with Cleveland State at the break the last time out, but then the team allowed the Vikings to knock down 7-of-13 behind the 3-point line and 52.9 percent from the floor overall in the second half. Jordan Aaron connected on 4-of-7 beyond the arc for Milwaukee as he finished with 18 points, followed by Austin Arians and Paris Gulley with 15 and 12 points, respectively, even as the team shot a season-best 51.1 percent from the floor.
Notorious for having awful shooting games, the Panthers are currently hitting their shots at just 38.9 percent from the floor, which is why they are being outscored by more than eight points per outing. Aaron (14.3 ppg) and Gulley (14.2 ppg) are both shooting under 38.0 percent, but have still tried to give the squad a lift out on the perimeter where they have combined to make 98 triples, the rest of the team just 94.
As much as the Panthers would like to get a win at home, a win anywhere really, UIC still has something to play for as far as the standings are concerned so expect the visitors to take charge on Wednesday night.