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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 17, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: UWM 0-0, NIU 1-2. Away Record: UWM 1-1, NIU 1-1. Neutral Record: UWM 2-0, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: UWM 0-0, NIU 0-0. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 17-10.
GAME NOTES: The Milwaukee Panthers will try to complete a sweep of the field as they take on the hosting Northern Illinois Huskies in the final matchup of the NIU Invitational Tournament at the Convocation Center.
The Panthers had an 1-1 record when they arrived in DeKalb after losing their first game of the 2013-14 season to former Horizon League rival Loyola-Chicago and knocking off Davidson on the road their next time out. They enter Sunday's contest at 3-1 after notching victories over San Jose State (64-61) on Friday and James Madison (77-66) in the second stage of the tourney. Coach Rob Jeter's squad had one of its best offensive showings versus the Dukes as it hit on 45.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 11-of-24 from 3- point range. Milwaukee also assisted on 15 of its 25 makes from the floor to earn the double-digit decision over JMU.
NIU earned its first win of the season and improved to 1-2 on Saturday as it held on for a 60-59 decision over San Jose State on Saturday. The Huskies had previously suffered setbacks to Nebraska Omaha (68-66) and JMU (60-55) before finding success. Mike Montgomery is now in his third year as the head coach of Northern Illinois. His tenure has been frustrating as he has gone just 11-51 over that span.
This will be the 28th meeting in history between the Panthers and NIU. The Huskies own a 17-10 all-time series lead after Milwaukee narrowed the deficit with an 80-73 overtime win in last season's meeting.
The Panthers entered Saturday's action above the .500 mark despite a slow start by star guard Jordan Aaron, who had averaged only 10.7 points per game on 23.3 percent shooting from the field. Aaron, who averaged 14.4 points a season ago and was named to the Preseason All-Horizon League Second Team, broke out of his slump to pour in 24 points against the Dukes with the help of a 5-of-10 clip from beyond the arc. Matt Tiby registered a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Austin Arians and Kyle Kelm netted 14 points each. The 6-foot-8 Tiby is having a strong sophomore campaign as he is posting 17.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists through four games as the team's starting forward.
Junior center Jordan Threloff scored 17 points and pulled down eight boards off the bench to help the Huskies down SJSU on Saturday. The 6-9, 255-pound big man had been quiet through his first two outings with only 11 points and eight boards in total through two games. Sophomore guard Daveon Balls registered his second double-digit scoring outing as he set a season-high against the Spartans with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field. Balls also avoided making any turnovers after losing the ball four times versus the Dukes on Friday. Aksel Bolin, who was the team's leading scorer among returners after netting 7.2 ppg last season, has gone 4-of-17 from the field through his first three outings.
The Huskies have been competitive this season despite only winning once. They will have trouble keeping pace with the Panthers if Aaron maintains the momentum he built on Saturday. Milwaukee is clearly the better team on paper, but it will have to overcome NIU's homecourt edge to leave DeKalb a winner.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Milwaukee 78, Northern Illinois 65
11/17 10:35:20 ET