FACTS & STATS: Site: JAck Stephens Center (5,600) -- Little Rock, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Milwaukee 2-0, Arkansas-Little Rock 1-0. Away Record: Milwaukee 0-1, Arkansas-Little Rock 0-2. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 0-0, Arkansas-Little Rock 0-0. Conference Record: Milwaukee 0-0, Arkansas- Little Rock 0-0. Series Record: Milwaukee leads 2-1.
GAME NOTES: As part of the Hoops for Hope Classic, the Milwaukee Panthers will travel to the Jack Stephens Center for a battle with the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, who are looking to end a two-game losing streak.
On the season, Milwaukee is 2-1 after a 73-68 win over Davidson on Saturday. The win came after South Carolina defeated the Panthers 82-75 in Milwaukee's first and only road game of the season. The Hoops of Hope Classic moves to Mexico next weekend where the Panthers will have contests against Jacksonville and Rider.
As for Arkansas-Little Rock, the Trojans have not been able to get into the win column since an 84-68 defeat of Tennessee-Martin in the season opener. Since then the Trojans have taken big losses to Louisiana Tech (70-52) and Ole Miss (92-52). The win over Tennessee-Martin came during the only home game the Trojans have had so far. Before traveling to Mexico, the Trojans will host Jacksonville on Wednesday night.
This is the second straight season and third time overall that these teams will be matched up. Last season the Panthers won in a 59-54 decision also at the Jack Stephens Center. Milwaukee leads the series 2-1.
Milwaukee and Davidson were tied at 62-62 with a little less than three minutes but the Panthers were able to pull away in the final minutes aided by a 6-of-6 effort from the free throw line in the last two minutes. In the win the Panthers overcame a poor first half, in which they connected on only 7- of-23 shots before heating up to a 14-of-26 effort over the final 20 minutes. Jordan Aaron was the lead scorer in the game with 23 points, while Thierno Niang ripped down 12 rebounds.
Milwaukee is off to a solid start on the offensive end of the floor this season. The Panthers have been the second best scoring team among Horizon league squads (74.7 ppg) despite only shooting at a 41.4 percent pace. Aaron is one of only two players to be scoring in double figures. The junior guard has been a workhorse playing 36.7 minutes per game while scoring (21.0 ppg) and distributing (5.3 apg) at a high level. Kyle Klem (10.3 ppg) has also been able to consistently put in double digit point totals but has done so as a reserve off the bench. Kelm is used for extended stretches though as his 28 minutes per game is the fourth most on the team. For a 6-foot-1 guard, Niang (9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has really had a knack for cleaning up the glass while on the interior, James Haarsma (7.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg) has bee a steady contributor both on offense and on the boards.
Arkansas-Little Rock never got into a consistent rhythm while failing to put up much resistance defensively in the loss to Ole Miss. The Trojans connected on only 29.7 percent of its shots overall, including just 6-of-27 in the second half, while the Rebels hummed along at a 51.6 percent clip. The Trojans also suffered from 20 turnovers and a 47-34 difference in rebounds. Only John Gillons (14 points) was able to get into double figures.
Gillon has been a nice surprise in the beginning of his freshman season. The guard is leading the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and has shot at a stellar 46.2 percent rate from beyond the arc early on. He is projected to get the start against Milwaukee which would be the first of his career. Forward Will Neighbour was a Preseason All-Sun Belt selection but has not come close to living up to that honor early on. The 6-foot-10 junior is putting in only 7.7 points per game, while hauling in 5.3 rebounds a contest. The issue has not been a lack of opportunity but inefficient finishing, as Neighbour has knocked down only 9-of-24 field goal attempts. James White (11.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg), who has also yet to make a start, is the only player on the team scoring in double figures, while also managing to lead the team on the boards. Josh Hagins (4.0 ppg. 2.7 apg) is the lead assist man but has been a dismal 4-of-17 in shooting including just a 1-of-7 showing from 3-point range.
It is only a matter of time before Neighbour begins to play at the level that he is capable of. With the benefit of playing at home, Neighbour and the Trojans should get back on track.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkanss-Little Rock 70, Milwaukee 64
11/19 10:43:02 ET
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