Milwaukee (12-6) at Illinois-Chicago (5-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 16, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (8,000) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: CSN-CHI, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Milwaukee 4-3, UIC 2-5. Away Record: Milwaukee 5-2, UIC 1-5. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 3-1, UIC 2-2. Conference Record: Milwaukee 2-2, UIC 0-3. Series Record: Milwaukee leads, 38-23.
GAME NOTES: The only program in the Horizon League still without a conference victory, the Flames of Illinois-Chicago are set to entertain the Milwaukee Panthers tonight at UIC Pavilion.
Not only are the Flames winless in three league bouts, the team is also struggling with a six-game slide overall. What's worse is that UIC has just one win over a D-I foe since December began, that coming against Southeast Missouri State (75-69) on Dec. 14. Most recently, the Flames came up short versus Wright State on the road last Sunday, 58-53.
Meanwhile, the Panthers are using this outing as a jumping off point for a three-game road trip, that sees the team visiting Valparaiso and Wright State over the next several days. Milwaukee has fallen in two of the last three contests, the latest being a hard-fought 93-86 setback in overtime to visiting Green Bay over the weekend.
The Panthers own a 38-23 lead in the all-time series with UIC, dating back to 1969. With both programs playing at the Division I level, the Flames trail only by four games, 25-21. Milwaukee will host the Flames in the final home game of the regular season in late February.
The game experienced a 20-point swing as Green Bay led by as many as 11 points before Milwaukee pushed out to a nine-point edge in the second half, only to go to overtime where the Panthers came up short. Jordan Aaron scored 13 straight points during one stretch, finishing with 26 points for the hosts at U.S. Cellular Arena. Matt Tiby added 20 points and seven rebounds, while Kyle Kelm had a double-double consisting of 11 points and 12 boards. Austin Arians pitched in with 15 points and Steve McWhorter produced 10 and seven assists.
Kelm's effort on the glass on Sunday was somewhat unexpected considering he is averaging just 5.4 rpg and ranks second in that department behind Tiby (6.8 rpg). Kelm is also second in scoring with his 13.2 ppg, trailing Tiby who is turning in 13.9 ppg even through he is shooting just 27.8 percent behind the 3-point line. Helping to balance the scales out on the perimeter is Arians (11.8 ppg), who has made good on 40.5 percent of his 3-point tries.
UIC made just nine field goals in the first half against Wright State the last time out, but it got even worse for the Flames as they converted only seven attempts after the break, an effort that eventually turned into a five-point road loss. Kelsey Barlow managed to deliver a game-high 19 points and Marc Brown posted 14, as the duo combined for 10 field goals, but that means the rest of the team accounted for only six.
Finishing with more turnovers (17) than field goals (16) versus the Raiders, UIC is now shooting 43.6 percent from the field on the campaign. Barlow heads the scoring list with his 16.8 ppg, connecting on a team-best 31 3-pointers, not to mention handing out 73 assists which is almost three times as many as his closest teammate. Brown (12.9 ppg) is second on the unit with 27 dishes over the course of 17 starts.
After a disappointing outcome against Green Bay, the Panthers will surely use this opportunity, against a weaker UIC squad, to get back on track and prepare accordingly for a crucial three-game road trip.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 81, Illinois-Chicago 68
01/16 10:19:31 ET