Jan. 3, 2014
Need To Know
The Last Meeting
February 17, 2013
Vikings Use Big Second-Half Run To Trip Panthers
Bryn Forbes tied a Cleveland State season-high with 24 points and the Vikings outscored the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team 51-30 in the second half to claim an 88-67 victory Sunday afternoon at the Wolstein Center.
After a pair of free throws by J.J. Panoske, UWM (6-22, 2-12 Horizon) led 41-39, but the Vikings (13-15, 5-9) offense then exploded to go on a 29-8 run to open the game up and take a commanding 68-49 lead.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team wraps up its first weekend of Horizon League play by welcoming Cleveland State to the U.S. Cellular Arena.
The Panthers opened Horizon League play with an 82-76 win over Youngstown State Thursday night. Milwaukee led by as many as 19 points in the second half and then hit 10-of-12 free throws in the final 100 seconds to hang on for the win.
Milwaukee's starting backcourt of Steve McWhorter and Jordan Aaron combined for 44 points in the victory, while senior Kyle Kelm recorded his second-straight double-double (12 pts, 10 rbs).
Milwaukee finished non-league play at 10-4, setting a new school record for regular season non-conference wins. The Panthers have already surpassed their win total from a season ago.
The Panthers have shown great balance on offense through the first half of the season. Milwaukee has four players averaging in double figures, led by Matt Tiby's 13.9 points per game. In fact, three Panthers are averaging at least 13 points per game.
Milwaukee is trying to get its fifth-straight home win of the season. But UWM has truly made its mark on the road. The Panthers have four true road wins this season after collecting just one all of last season. And, seven of the Panthers' 11 victories this year have come outside of the city of Milwaukee. The four non-league road wins are the most since the 2004-05 campaign.
As league play begins, the Panthers will be trying to out-do their ninth-place pick in the preseason poll. Jordan Aaron was a preseason all-league selection.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team wraps up its first weekend of Horizon League play with a Saturday night contest against Cleveland State.
A Quick Scout
Cleveland State went 8-6 during non-league play before opening league play with a loss at Green Bay Thursday night ... the Vikings had a halftime lead but were outscored 43-26 in the second half ... CSU has still won four of its last six ... the Vikings are 2-6 on the road entering Saturday ... Bryn Forbes leads the team at 16.9 points per game while Trey Lewis adds 13.6 points per contest ... the Vikings were picked to finish third in the Horizon League.
UWM holds a 23-17 lead in the all-time series with Cleveland State ... the Panthers have won 17 of their last 23 meetings with the Vikings ... the two teams split their two meetings a season ago, with each team winning on its homecourt ... CSU's last win in Milwaukee came early in the 2010-11 campaign.
Milwaukee is making its fifth regular season appearance at the U.S. Cellular Arena Saturday after UWM announced this summer it will be returning its home games to The Cell. The University and the Wisconsin Center District have signed a five-year agreement that puts the Panthers back downtown after a one-year absence. Before moving to the on-campus Klotsche Center for the 2012-13 season, Milwaukee had played nearly all of its home games downtown since the 2003-04 campaign. Nine of Milwaukee's 12 regular season home games will be downtown this season, with every home game expected to be played at the off-campus venue in following seasons. Since returning to the Division I ranks in 1990, the Panthers have played 212 regular season and postseason home games at the Cell. Upon returning downtown for the 2002-03 league tournament, the Panthers embarked on a tremendous run of success that included three league regular season crowns, three NCAA Tournament appearances and a 97-37 mark at The Cell.
Not Home Much
The Panthers certainly aren't spending any extended time on their home court this season. Before its win Thursday night, UWM hadn't played a game at the U.S Cellular Arena since Dec. 3. Milwaukee is playing just 12 of its 30 regular season games at home this year, with four of the 18 away games played on neutral courts. UWM's 12 home games are easily the least in the Horizon League. UIC will play 14 home games plus two additional games in Chicago. Every other league team will play 15 or 16 home contests. The good news is the Panthers have started to make their mark on the road this season. UWM already has four true road wins and seven total victories outside of Milwaukee. Those totals are particularly notable around the Horizon League, as the other eight teams in the league have combined for just eight road wins and only 17 road+neutral victories.
Piling Up The Wins
Milwaukee finished its non-league schedule with 10 wins, the most of any Horizon League team as the calendar turns to 2014. While it is hard to directly compare non-league schedules, Milwaukee's win total is particularly noteworthy when you include only victories over Division I foes. The Panthers played only one non-D1 team in a regular season game, while every other school in the league played at least two while Green Bay, Valparaiso and Youngstown State each played three. If you adjust win totals in the non-league standings for only Division I games, Milwaukee had nine wins while no one else had more than six.
Notable Victory Numbers
Milwaukee is off to a 11-4 start and has hit a number of milestones in the process:
- UWM set a school record by winning 10 regular season non-league games. Milwaukee won nine regular season contests outside of the Horizon League in 2002-03, while the Panthers have won eight regular season non-league games five other times.
- The Panthers set a school record with seven wins in the month of November. The previous best was five, set in both 2009 and 2011.
- The Panthers put together a stretch of four-straight true road wins, besting three-game streaks from 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11. Milwaukee last won five-straight road games in 2004-05.
- Prior to this season, Milwaukee had never won more than two true road games in the month of November.
- Milwaukee's four non-league road wins are one better than the team total from the 2005-06, 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons. UWM last won four non-league road games in 2004-05.
- The Panthers have won games in seven different venues this season, including two different home venues. Plus, Milwaukee has beaten teams from eight different conferences.
- Milwaukee now has two wins over NCAA Tournament teams (Davidson and James Madison) and has overcome double-digit deficits in two of its four true road wins.
What A Difference A Year Makes
There's little question the Panthers are a different team in 2013-14 than they were in 2012-13. It took UWM just 11 games to exceed its win total of a year ago and has improved dramatically in nearly every key statistical category. A few examples of the stark improvement:
12-13 13-14 Diff
Points Scored 62.7 73.7 +11.0
FG Percentage 38.8 45.5 +6.7
FT Percentage 68.4 75.4 +7.0
Asst. Per Game 10.9 14.1 +3.2
TO Per Game 14.2 13.2 -1.0
Other Notable Differences
Milwaukee's quick turnaround from 2012-13 until now has also been highlighted by a number of tremendous individual improvements:
- Senior Kyle Kelm has upped his scoring average from 5.1 points per game a season ago to 13.7 points per contest this year. He is also shooting 60.2 percent from the floor this year after making only 41.0 percent of his shots in `12-'13. He capped non-league play with a 24-point, 12-rebound outing against Alabama State and then added a second-straight double-double in the win over Youngstown State Thursday.
- Sophomore Austin Arians is averaging 12.2 points per contest this year after averaging 6.6 points per game a season ago. He has also improved his game dramatically inside the arc. He made just 23 two-point shots all of last season but has already made 34 this year. Taken one step further, almost 75 percent of Arians' shots a year ago came from three-point range, while this season less than 60 percent of his shots have come from beyond the arc.
- Senior Jordan Aaron was forced to take more than 23 percent of Milwaukee shots a season ago, but this year is taking less than 19 percent of its shots.
- Milwaukee's two best newcomers - Steve McWhorter and Matt Tiby - have combined for 21.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. For comparison sake, UWM's five-person senior class a year ago averaged 29.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per contest over 32 games.
Last Time Out
Jordan Aaron scored 27 points to lead four players in double figures as UWM claimed an 82-76 win over Youngstown State Thursday night in the Horizon League opener for both teams. The Panthers led by as many as 19 points in the second half and then hung on with excellent free throw shooting down the stretch. Steve McWhorter added 17 points for Milwaukee, which also got 12 points and 10 rebounds from Kyle Kelm and 11 points plus seven rebounds from Matt Tiby.
Milwaukee's starting backcourt combo of Steve McWhorter and Jordan Aaron stepped up nicely in the season-opening win over Youngstown State Thursday night. In fact, with YSU committing to double-teaming Milwaukee's post players much of the night, Aaron and McWhorter combined for 44 points and had just three combined turnovers in 65 minutes of action. Aaron appears to be settling in nicely to his spot in the off-guard position after playing the point a year ago. His 27-point outing Thursday was his second-best effort of the season, as he poured in 33 points in a win at UMKC Nov. 30. Aaron was a preseason all-league selection and is currently one of four Panthers averaging in double figures. Meanwhile, McWhorter has taken over point guard duties after transferring from Indiana State. His 17 points Thursday marked a season-high, and in directing the Milwaukee offense has committed just 31 turnovers overall while collecting 52 assists.
Kyle Kelm has gotten his senior season off to a great start and now has added back-to-back double-doubles to his resume. Kelm had 12 points and 10 rebounds Thursday after collecting 24 points and 12 boards in Milwaukee's final non-league game of the year - a win over Alabama State. Kelm has been in double digits in 13 of his 15 outings and earned his way into the starting lineup. He has now played in 105 career games and made 41 starts, scoring 673 career points while adding 388 rebounds.
Sophomore newcomer Matt Tiby has made a huge mark on the Panthers just 15 games into his college career. He has led the Panthers in scoring four times this season and in rebounding eight times. Tiby debuted with 20-plus points in his first two games, becoming the first Panther since Ed McCants to score 20 or more points in each of his first two games in Milwaukee. He leads the team in both scoring and rebounding and stands second in assists.
Oh So Many Options
One thing has become clear over the first 15 games - Milwaukee has plenty of options on offense. The Panthers have already had nine different players collect at least one double-figure scoring outing, with four players entering play this weekend averaging at least 12 points per game and all four ranking in the top 20 in the league in scoring. Milwaukee has had five players reach double figures in a game twice and four players do so in seven other contests.
The Panthers have done a strong job during the early season of establishing an inside edge and using it to get to the foul line on a regular basis. In fact, Milwaukee has made 266 free throws while its opponents have attempted just 284. Even better, the Panthers are shooting very well from the line, converting on 75.4 percent of their attempts. The school record for free throw percentage is 74.5 percent, set in the 1993-94 campaign. Milwaukee is also on pace to break the single-season record for made free throws (542).
The 2013-14 UWM men's basketball team is looking to a number of new faces along with some key returnees as it charts its course for bouncing back from the 2012-13 campaign. The Panthers return seven players that made at least one start a season ago, though that group of seven combined for just 68 starts over the course of the year. Those seven, plus one additional returnee, are joined by a group of 11 new players. Eight of the 11 are eligible this season, and new faces account for eight of the team's 13 scholarship players.