Wright State (13-10) at Milwaukee (13-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 30, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Klotsche Center (5,000) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: TWC. Home Record: WSU 10-1, Milwaukee 4-4. Away Record: WSU 2-9, Milwaukee 6-4. Neutral Record: WSU 1-0, Milwaukee 3-1. Conference Record: WSU 5-3, Milwaukee 3-5. Series Record: Series is tied, 24-24.
GAME NOTES: After having such a successful non-conference run this season, the Milwaukee Panthers continue to disappoint when they compete against other members of the Horizon League these days. The team tries to turn that around tonight as it hosts the Wright State Raiders at the Klotsche Center.
Since Milwaukee grabbed 10 wins in 14 tries against teams outside the HL, victories have become more and more scarce. In fact, the Panthers are currently riding a three-game slide and have dropped four of the last five overall. The squad was in action last Friday versus Detroit and was thoroughly beaten by the Titans in a 73-54 final.
Meanwhile, the Raiders have been holding it together since losing four in a row the first half of December, posting a mark of 8-3 over the last 11 decisions. However, last Saturday the squad saw a two-game win streak come to an end with a narrow 68-67 setback to Youngstown State on the road.
The all-time series is now knotted at 24-24 after the Raiders captured a 73-57 win in the first meeting of the season just nine days ago. During that contest at the Nutter Center, Jerran Young came off the bench to supply a game-high 19 points for the hosts as they forced 16 turnovers and outscored Milwaukee by a 22-14 margin at the free-throw line.
The Raiders shot an impressive 52.2 percent from the floor against YSU the last time out, but even that was not enough to keep the visitors out of the loss column. AJ Pacher accounted for 15 points, followed by Matt Vest and JT Yoho with 10 points apiece, the former adding nine rebounds, including one of the team's three boards at the offensive end of the floor.
In conference play this season the scoring has been held to a minimum in games involving Wright State. The team is generating just 63.4 ppg, but the defense has stepped up the pressure and allowed only 58.8 ppg. Pacher, who is playing slightly more than 24 minutes per contest, posts 10.6 ppg and is also second on the unit with 4.6 rpg, while Young's spirited play off the bench has resulted in 10.1 ppg and an impressive 20 steals in those eight league bouts.
If the Panthers thought they had a rough time of it in the first half against Detroit when they shot only 34.8 percent from the field, there was no way to prepare them for a mere 28.6 percent accuracy after the break. Milwaukee didn't have a single player reach double figures, with Jordan Aaron, Steve McWhorter and J.J. Panoske checking in with nine points apiece. Considering the Titans shot only 40.3 percent from the field, including 4-of-14 behind the 3-point line, it was definitely a game that could have easily been won by the Panthers.
After shooting under 40 percent from the field only twice through the first 19 games, it has now happened to the Panthers twice in the last three contests. In those two disappointing efforts, Milwaukee has also converted less than 20 percent behind the 3-point line as well, which is why the Panthers now come in at 31.9 percent out on the perimeter. Matt Tiby, the club's leading scorer (13.6 ppg) and rebounder (6.5 rpg), is one of the reasons why Milwaukee has been slumping on the outside, because his accuracy from long distance is at only 29.2 percent.
Milwaukee has been only average (4-4) at home this season, which would lead one to believe that the Raiders have a shot at the win tonight. However, with Wright State being just 2-9 on the road and revenge being a factor in this contest for the hosts, perhaps the Panthers can find a way to put together a solid effort this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 67, Wright State 63
01/30 10:33:19 ET