Valparaiso (15-11) at Milwaukee (16-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Cellular Arena (10,783), Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: TWCSC/HLN. Home Record: Valpo 10-4, Milwaukee 6-4. Away Record: Valpo 4-7, Milwaukee 7-4. Neutral Record: Valpo 1-0, Milwaukee 3-1. Conference Record: Valpo 7-4, Milwaukee 6-5. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 15-11.
GAME NOTES: The Milwaukee Panthers shoot for a fourth straight win, as they entertain the Crusaders of Valparaiso in Horizon League action at U.S. Cellular Arena on Saturday night.
Since losing three consecutive games in the second half of last month, the Panthers closed out January with a 68-64 win over Wright State and followed that with a blowout win over Oakland, and a 73-63 triumph over Green Bay last weekend. With six wins in 11 chances in conference action, Milwaukee enters the weekend fourth in the league standings.
Just ahead of the Panthers in the Horizon is a Valpo squad that is 7-4, after posting an 8-7 mark against non-conference opponents in 2013-14. Last weekend, the Crusaders secured their third win in four games with a 63-60 triumph over Oakland at home.
Valparaiso won the first meeting of the season back at the ARC by a score of 75-62, which means the Crusaders are now ahead in the all-time series by a 15-11 margin.
After shooting an impressive 60.9 percent from the field in the first half, knocking down 14-of-23 from the floor, the Crusaders took the same number of shots after the break but made just seven, which is why the margin of victory against Oakland was so narrow. Alec Peters tallied 13 points, Clay Yeo 12 and LaVonte Dority 11 points, the latter shooting only 4-of-14 from the floor. Bobby Capobianco came up a rebound shy of a double-double as he tallied 10 points in 21 minutes off the bench.
In conference games, the leader of the pack for Valpo is Dority with his 18.8 ppg, shooting not just 49.2 percent from the field but also a staggering 50.9 percent beyond the arc, even after making just 1-of-7 from long range in the decision against Oakland. Even though Dority is the lone double-digit scorer at the moment, it is the defense that continues to draw raves for the Crusaders as they limit foes to just 64.2 ppg on 39.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Against the top team in the Horizon and playing on the road, the Panthers didn't back down against mighty Green Bay, as the visitors led by as many as 18 points before claiming the double-digit victory. Jordan Aaron erupted for 30 points, hitting on 4-of-6 tries from beyond the arc and all 10 of his chances at the free-throw line. Steve McWhorter added 10 points, but was the only other player in double figures for the squad.
Over the course of 11 Horizon League bouts, Aaron stands as the top scorer for the Panthers with his 17.3 ppg, shooting not only 80.8 percent at the free- throw line but also 41.9 percent behind the 3-point line. Matt Tiby checks in with not only 11.6 ppg but also a team-best 6.9 rpg, the latter being more than enough reason for the big man to give up his efforts to be a deep threat where he has shot just 24.0 percent this season.
Defensively, the Panthers have been rather lenient when it comes to slowing down league foes, allowing 72.4 ppg, but Milwaukee's win over Green Bay should go a long way in making the hosts believe they can beat almost any other team in the league right now.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 68, Valparaiso 66
02/15 10:32:52 ET