Detroit (13-18) at Milwaukee (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 4, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: U.S. Cellular Arena (12,700) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: None. Home Record: Detroit 8-7, Milwaukee 6-6. Away Record: Detroit 5-11, Milwaukee 8-6. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, Milwaukee 3-1. Conference Record: Detroit 6-10, Milwaukee 7-9. Series Record: Milwaukee leads, 22-20.
GAME NOTES: The eighth-seeded Detroit Titans and fifth-seeded Milwaukee Panthers will clash in a first-round matchup of the Horizon League Conference Tournament Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Arena.
The winner of this game will take on either Illinois-Chicago or Valparaiso in Friday's second round.
Detroit backed into the conference tournament season having lost its last three games on the regular-season schedule, including a 68-62 defeat at the hands of Milwaukee, the team's next opponent, back on Feb. 27. The Titans finished the regular season with a 75-66 loss against conference champion Green Bay, and own a 6-10 conference record entering the tournament.
Milwaukee had lost four consecutive games before a win at Detroit in the Panthers' regular-season finale got them back on track. The win was enough to grant Milwaukee a home game in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament with a 7-9 in-conference record.
Milwaukee holds a slim all-time series lead over Detroit, 22-20. The Panthers lost to Detroit in Michigan back on Jan. 24, 73-54, and won the final game over the Titans, 68-62, for the season series split.
Green Bay proved to be too powerful for Detroit to handle in the Titans' final game of the regular season. The Phoenix went up by seven points at the end of the first half, and piled more onto their lead in the second frame for the nine-point victory. Juwan Howard Jr. netted 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds to pace the Titans, while Matthew Grant chipped in 13 points. Evan Bruinsma added 12 points and six boards, and Carlton Brundidge contributed 10 in the loss.
Detroit never won more than two games in a row in the Horizon League this season. Howard paced the Titans with 18.2 ppg this season, good for fourth in the conference. Evan Bruinsma was the only other Detroit player to average a double-digit point total at 12.5 ppg with a team-leading 7.7 rpg. Howard adds a 2.1 apg margin for the top spot on the team, and center Ugochukwu Njoku blocked a team-high 47 shots on the season. Detroit averaged 71 ppg and gave up 70.5 ppg to opponents.
Milwaukee and Detroit were deadlocked at 60-60 in the final minutes of play in the Panthers' regular-season finale, but an 8-2 Milwaukee run to end the game helped the Panthers skate past the Titans in a crucial contest for either squad. JeVon Lyle scored a team-high 20 points for Milwaukee, and Kyle Kelm chipped in 11 points with six rebounds. Austin Arians netted 10 points to round out the double-digit scoring for the Panthers, who shot 55.3 percent from the floor.
Kelm is the team's active leading scorer this season with 12.4 ppg, but Jordan Aaron, who was suspended in the final leg of the regular season for a violation of team rules, averaged 14.2 ppg in his 26 games played for Milwaukee. Aaron is listed as questionable for the first-round contest. Matt Tiby adds 12.2 ppg and a team-best 6.7 rpg average. Steve McWhorter dished out a team-leading 116 assists on the year.
The two teams split the series this season with wins on their respective home courts. If Aaron is eligible to play for Milwaukee, he'll add an immediate scoring boost to the Panthers' offense. Either way, the Panthers should be able to use the home crowd momentum to their favor once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 73, Detroit 68
03/04 10:35:47 ET