Milwaukee (2-1) vs. James Madison (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: UWM 0-0, JMU 0-0. Away Record: UWM 1-1, JMU 1-1. Neutral Record: UWM 1-0, JMU 0-0. Conference Record: UWM 0-0, JMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The two winners of Friday's opening round of the NIU Invitational will collide, as the Milwaukee Panthers square off with the James Madison Dukes at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.
The Panthers improved to 2-1 on Friday with a 64-61 decision over San Jose State. Milwaukee seem poised to make a run in the Horizon League after finishing last in its conference a season ago. After falling to Loyola-Chicago in their season opener, the Panthers notched a 81-77 road victory over the defending Southern Conference champion Davidson Wildcats. Coach Rob Jeter's squad has averaged 72.3 points per game and allowed 71.2 ppg so far. It has hit on only 30 percent of its attempts from 3-point range, while its opposition has delivered on 41.1 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
After suffering a 20-point setback to Virginia in its season opener, JMU improved to 1-1 on the season with a 60-55 decision over the hosting Huskies on Friday. The Dukes outscored NIU, 34-26, in the paint and held a 43-36 edge on the boards. JMU shot 43 percent from the field while limiting the Huskies to 32 percent efficiency. Both teams struggled from long distance with JMU hitting on just 5-of-23 from beyond the arc and NIU connecting on only 18 percent of its tries from behind the 3-point line. Coach Matt Brady has been successful since taking over the helm of the program as he owns an 89-83 record at JMU.
This will be the first meeting in history between Milwaukee and JMU.
The Panthers are above the .500 mark despite a slow start by star guard Jordan Aaron, who has averaged only 10.7 points per game on 23.3 percent shooting from the field. Aaron averaged 14.4 points a season ago and was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team. Matt Tiby has stepped up his play to post team-highs of 18 points, 8.2 rebounds and three assists per contest while Austin Arians is second in the scoring column at 12 ppg. Indiana State transfer Steve McWhorter has provided solid leadership in the backcourt. McWhorter is clocking a team-high 32.7 minutes per game and is fifth in the scoring column with 10 ppg to go along with a team-high 3.7 apg.
Freshman forward Tom Vodanovich was the only JMU player to score in double figures in the season opener, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor. The rookie was held scoreless by NIU as he missed his only field goal try and played just 12 minutes. Ron Curry scored a game-high 19 points and dealt out five assists to lead the Dukes, while Charles Cooke netted 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field. Andrey Semenov registered the second double-double of his career with 10 points and the same number of rebounds. JMU is averaging 24 attempts from 3-point range through its first two games, but connecting on only 22.9 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc.
If Aaron begins to start knocking down his shots with more efficiency, Milwaukee will be a dangerous team as it enters Horizon League action. JMU is still figuring out who will be its leader this season. The Dukes should be able to come out on top if they are able to keep Tiby in check, but the Panthers will come out on top if their star forward continues to shine.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 76, James Madison 74
11/16 10:41:20 ET