GAME NOTES: All alone in last place in the Horizon League standings, the Milwaukee Panthers desperately try to record their first road win of the 2012-13 campaign on Wednesday night as they clash with the Ramblers of Loyola- Chicago at Gentile Arena.
Milwaukee, which is just 1-6 in conference play, has come up empty in nine true road games this season and another two neutral-site battles. The team last took the floor last Friday night versus in-state rival Green Bay and bowed in a 74-54 final at home. The loss was the third in a row and the sixth in seven tries for the program overall.
Meanwhile, the Ramblers are only marginally better in conference play right now with two wins in seven chances. Over the weekend, the Ramblers were handed a 75-63 setback by Detroit at home, snapping the squad's brief two-game win streak in the process.
The Panthers lead the all-time series between the teams by a count of 28-20, taking four straight road dates versus the Ramblers and sweeping the season series in 2011-12.
Another awful shooting effort by the Panthers led to yet another blowout loss last week as they bowed to rival Green Bay. Milwaukee made just 37.7 percent from the floor in the meeting, including 3-of-20 behind the 3-point line, two of those long-distance conversions coming from Jordan Aaron who finished with a team-best 20 points. Demetrius Harris tacked on 12 points and eight rebounds, while Paris Gulley responded with 10 points and JJ Panoske 10 rebounds, eight boards and four blocked shots in the setback. Although he has played just 15 of the unit's 21 games this season, Gulley paces the Panthers in scoring with 15.2 ppg, but he is shooting only 38.5 percent from the floor. Aaron (14.3 ppg) is another one who is having trouble finding the basket with only 36.3 percent accuracy, which is why the team as a whole it connecting on a mere 37.6 percent at the moment.
Loyola shot an impressive 55.6 percent from the floor in the second half of its meeting against Detroit last Saturday, but at the same time the Ramblers defense watched the Titans convert a staggering 76.0 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes in order to pull away for the win. Christian Thomas tried to keep the Ramblers close with his 18 points and 11 rebounds, both game- highs, while Cully Payne and Ben Averkamp checked in with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Thomas, the leading scorer for the program in three of the last four outings, is now averaging 9.2 ppg as he shoots 58.9 percent from the floor, but he is playing only slightly more than 24 minutes per game. Averkamp is responsible for a team-best 15.2 ppg, the only player on the roster in double figures through 20 games.
Defensively, the Ramblers are holding opponents to just 59.5 ppg this season and against a weaker squad like Milwaukee, a win for the home team is almost a certainty.