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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 1, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) -- Valparaiso, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Milwaukee 5-5, Valpo 10-1. Away Record: Milwaukee 0-10, Valpo 6-5. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 0-2, Valpo 0-0. Conference Record: Milwaukee 1-7, Valpo 6-2. Series Record: Valparaiso leads, 13-11.
GAME NOTES: Still winless away from home in a total of 12 attempts this season, the Milwaukee Panthers give it another go on Friday night as they size up the Crusaders of Valparaiso in Horizon League action at the ARC.
Milwaukee, which has played 10 true road games and a pair of contests on neutral floors, has yet to win anywhere other than home in 2012-13. On Wednesday night, the Panthers were taken down for the fourth time in as many games and the seventh in eight tries as they bowed to Loyola-Chicago, 76-65. With the setback Milwaukee is now only 1-7 in league play, placing the group all alone in last place.
As for the Crusaders, they are at the other end of the spectrum in the Horizon, sporting a 6-2 mark which has them just ahead of Detroit for the top spot in the standings. Valpo had won six games in a row since dropping the conference opener to Loyola early last month, but two nights ago the team was tripped up by the Youngstown State Penguins in an 80-68 final on the road.
Valpo crushed the Panthers in the first meeting of the season back on Jan. 12 in a 76-52 final, as Ryan Broekhoff led four players in double figures with his 26 points, adding 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots for the visitors to the Klotsche Center. With the decision the Panthers now trail in the all-time series by a 13-11 margin.
The meeting against Loyola started out promising enough for the Panthers, as the visitors led by a point at the break, but in the second half the Ramblers made good on 57.1 percent from the floor in order to pull away. Austin Arians and Jordan Aaron led the offense for Milwaukee with 17 points apiece, while Demetrius Harris tacked on 11 points and cleared eight rebounds for a team that turned the ball over 16 times on the night. Paris Gulley, who converted just 2-of-12 from the floor and finished with six points versus Loyola, is still the leading scorer overall on the season for the Panthers with his 14.6 ppg, but closing fast is Aaron who is posting 14.5 ppg even though he is shooting just 36.9 percent from the floor. Then again, this is a team that is converting just 37.9 percent from the field and a mere 29.5 percent behind the 3-point line.
Losing Matt Kenney to an ankle injury on Wednesday night after he played just six minutes was enough to shake up the Crusaders who eventually fell to YSU. Kenney, who is listed as questionable moving towards Friday's outing, is posting only seven points per game, but his real value is that of a distributor with 67 assists, which is second only to Erik Buggs who had just a single dish to go along with 10 points before fouling out versus the Penguins. Kevin Van Wijk was responsible for 14 points, LaVonte Dority 13 off the bench and Ryan Broekhoff 10 points and eight rebounds, but the latter shot just 3- of-13 from the field. Broekhoff continues to lead the group in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg), with Van Wijk (13.5 ppg) helping out on the interior as well for a team that is outscoring the competition by more than eight points per game.
Even if Kenney is unable to go on Friday night, as it might be smart to give him a rest anyway, the Crusaders should have little trouble taking care of a slumping Milwaukee group that doesn't travel well at all.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Valparaiso 75, Milwaukee 61
02/01 10:30:16 ET