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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Klotsche Center (3,400) -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Television: Sports 32, HLN/ESPN3.com. Home Record: Valpo 8-1, Milwaukee 4-2. Away Record: Valpo 4-4, Milwaukee 0-8. Neutral Record: Valpo 0-0, Milwaukee 0-2. Conference Record: Valpo 2-1, Milwaukee 0-2. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 12-11.
GAME NOTES: Winners of five of their last six outings, the Crusaders of Valparaiso take their act on the road as they battle the Milwaukee Panthers in Horizon League action at the Klotsche Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Crusaders last took the floor three nights ago in Chicago and took out the UIC Flames, 75-70, the team's second straight win as it moved to 2-1 in conference play.
As for the Panthers, they began the 2012-13 campaign with two wins in the first three outings, but since then the squad has won only two more times, the last coming against Ohio Dominican on Dec. 29. In addition to a 74-59 loss to Detroit at Calihan Hall on Jan 3., the Panthers also suffered a 53-51 setback to Wright State at the Nutter Center last weekend, which means Milwaukee has now fallen in six of the last seven games overall.
The Crusaders lead the all-time series by a count of 12-11 after the two squads split a pair of regular-season meetings last season.
In a game that featured 13 ties and five lead changes, the Crusaders were on the right side of the final score after 40 minutes of action against UIC at the Pavilion earlier this week. Ryan Broekhoff registered a double-double for the visitors with 21 points and 10 rebounds, followed by LaVonte Dority and Kevin Van Wijk with 18 and 16 points, respectively, as the team shot 50.0 percent from the floor and 25-of-30 at the charity stripe in order to overcome 15 turnovers. Miscues have been an issue for Valpo this entire season, the squad recording a high of 23 in a loss to New Mexico and coming in under double digits just once (eight versus IUPUI). Nevertheless, the squad has still been rather tough on defense by holding the competition to 59.6 ppg even though they've had those extra possessions. Broekhoff and Dority leads the team in scoring at the moment with 16.4 and 13.1 ppg, respectively.
The Panthers had a chance to send their meeting with Wright State into overtime last weekend, but Jordan Aaron's final shot missed the mark and left the visitors with the two-point loss. Demetrius Harris had 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Milwaukee in defeat, with Paris Gulley adding 13 and Aaron 12 points as the team shot only 34.1 percent from the floor and 5-of-24 behind the 3-point line, not to mention turning the ball over 16 times. Now shooting only 37.4 percent from the floor over the course of 16 games, the Panthers have failed to convert even 40 percent of their tries in seven of the last nine contests. Shooting from 3-point range has also been an issue for the Panthers who, after hitting for 13 and 14 triples in the first two games of the season, respectively, have notched double figures just one other time and are now coming in at a mere 29.3 percent. Gulley (15.6 ppg) and Aaron (15.0 ppg) tend to give the team their best odds at converting from long range, but still Milwaukee is doing better than the competition (.253) at this stage.
It matters little that Milwaukee is playing at home in this one because the team can't seem to put together a solid effort no matter where it plays anymore.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 69, Milwaukee 57
01/12 10:45:37 ET