Panthers Look For Fourth-Straight Win Saturday
Jan. 4, 2008
#14: Detroit (4-9, 0-3) @ Milwaukee (6-7, 1-2)
UWM claimed its third-straight win Thursday night, capturing a 75-64 victory over Wright State. The Panthers led by as many as 11 points in the first half and then rebuilt a 12-point lead with 10 minutes to play in the second half on the way to their first league victory of the season. Ricky Franklin led Milwaukee with a collegiate-best 25 points and the Panthers knocked in 12 three-point shots. UWM will now be playing its second game of a five-games-in-10-days stretch that sees the Panthers on the road for three-straight starting Monday.
Detroit dropped a 78-52 decision at Green Bay for its seventh-straight loss. Jon Goode continues to lead the Titans, averaging 17.5 points per game after scoring 19 Thursday.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team continues its busy start to 2008 by hosting Detroit Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
Scouting The Titans
Detroit visits the U.S. Cellular Arena Saturday night in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. The Titans have certainly faced a number of challenges in the first month of league play, with Detroit 0-3 after games against Butler, Valparaiso and Green Bay. Jon Goode is the clear offensive leader for Detroit, averaging 17.5 points per game.
The series between UWM and Detroit is knotted at 14 wins apiece after the two teams split their two contests last season. The Panthers have made quite a comeback in the series of late, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings. There have been a number of memorable contests between the two teams, including a pair of overtime contests last season. Also in recent seasons, UWM pulled out a 59-58 win in the 2005 league title game. Then in the 2006-07 meeting in Detroit, the Panthers overcame a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes to pull out the win. UWM has won eight of the nine meetings between the two teams in Milwaukee.
Back Into League Play
After a three-week break, Horizon League play is returning in earnest this weekend. The Panthers have already played three league contests, with their win Thursday night helping them avoid their first 0-3 league start since the 1997-98 season. UWM is also now 9-5 in league openers since joining the MCC/Horizon League. Already, the league looks like it will be tight from top to bottom. Only two unbeaten teams remain, with Valpo and Cleveland State both 2-0. Plus, only one team is winless, with Detroit 0-3. The league preseason favorite - Butler - already has a loss and the team picked for second place - Wright State - has two losses but has beaten Butler.
Winning And Losing
UWM is now riding a three-game winning streak after enduring a six-game losing streak. This is the Panthers first three-game win streak since the end of the 2005-06 season, when UWM won four-straight before falling to Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Milwaukee's overall mark after 13 games has shown tremendous improvement from last season, with the 6-7 record four games better than the 2-11 mark after 13 games last year.
Saturday's game is the second in a very busy stretch for the Panthers, who are playing a total of five games in 10 days. This stretch comes after UWM has played just twice since Dec. 12. The on-again, off-again nature of the Panthers' schedule continues in February, as UWM will play just once between games Feb. 2 and Feb. 16 before finishing the season with five games in 11 days.
Milwaukee has posted a strong homecourt record since returning downtown to the U.S. Cellular Arena for the 2003 Horizon League Tournament. The Panthers are now 47-17 in regular season and postseason contests at The Cell since their return, and UWM had a 19-game homecourt winning streak until back-to-back home losses to UIC and Missouri State spoiled the run in 2005-06. Combining games at both the Klotsche Center and the U.S. Cellular Arena, UWM is now 52-11 in regular season Horizon League home contests over the last eight seasons. The Panthers are 4-4 at home this season.
Updating The Roster
With the loss of Torre Johnson (dismissed from team Dec. 18) and Roman Gentry (left team Dec. 18) along with the dismissal earlier this season of Avery Smith (Nov. 7), UWM's roster has shrunk from 13 scholarship players to just 10 scholarship players. Plus, neither Tim Flowers or Kevin Johnson have dressed for the last two games and once again are not expected to dress Saturday. Walk-ons Deion James, Jason Averkamp and Brad Carroll are also on the active roster, with Carroll currently redshirting this season. He is scheduled to receive a scholarship starting next season. Injured walk-ons Joe Allen and Zach Holt are also still on the roster.
The latest change to UWM's men's basketball schedule involves its contest at Youngstown State Monday. The game will now tipoff at 5:35 p.m. EST/4:35 p.m. CST instead of the previously announced 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST tip time. The change was made by Youngstown State officials because of high local interest in that night's national championship football game. Two other schedule changes for later this season have previously been announced. The home game against Butler has been moved to Tuesday, Feb. 12, to accommodate a national-television broadcast by ESPNU. The contest will start at 6 p.m. CST. Meanwhile, the Feb. 2 game at Wright State has been set for a 6 p.m. CST tipoff.
UWM has already fielded five different starting lineups this season. Seven different players - including two true freshmen (Deonte Roberts and Tim Flowers) - have earned starts. Last season, the Panthers used seven different starting lineups with eight different players earning starts ... the Panthers have split two overtime contests ... UWM has led at halftime in just four of its 13 games this season. When the Panthers led at halftime in their win over Central Michigan Dec. 19, it marked the first time they had the lead at halftime since the season opener. The Panthers have then since led at the half against Wyoming and Wright State ... UWM has also faced a halftime deficit of 10 or more points six times ... the combined record of the five non-league teams that have wins over UWM is 54-8 entering play this weekend ... of those opponents, Marquette and Wisconsin are ranked while Drake is receiving votes ... two opponents have made 13 threes in a game, the most by a UWM opponent since Butler made 15 late in the 2003-04 season ... the Panthers collected 20 steals in the win over Upper Iowa Nov. 9, a number that is tied for the third-most in a game in the school's Division I history and the most in a single game since the 2000-01 campaign ... the Dec. 12 game between UWM and Wisconsin drew a regular-season record crowd of 10,017 to the U.S. Cellular Arena. The crowd marked the fifth time in school history a crowd of 10,000 or better attended a UWM game at The Cell.
Last Time Out
Ricky Franklin scored a collegiate-best 24 points and UWM hit a season-best 12 three-pointers in capturing a 75-64 win over Wright State Thursday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Paige Paulsen added 15 points and six rebounds while Deion James pitched-in with 12 points off the bench for Milwaukee.
Junior Ricky Franklin picked up his game about this time last season, and his performance Thursday night suggests he might be ready to follow the same pattern this season. Franklin poured in a collegiate-best 24 points in the win over Wright State. Most impressively, Franklin converted 8-of-11 shots from the field overall, including 5-of-7 from three-point range. The Milwaukee native looked like he might be finding his stride last Saturday at Wyoming when he tossed in 13 points, and he is now averaging 18.5 points per game in his last two outings after averaging just 5.8 points per contest in the previous four games.
Plenty Of Paige
Senior Paige Paulsen has picked the perfect time to rediscover his offensive game. The forward added 15 points in the win over Wright State Thursday after leading the Panthers offensively in the previous two contests. He scored 22 points in the win over Central Michigan Dec. 19 and then topped the team again with 26 points in the win at Wyoming. He has now tallied 20-or-more points four times this season, but these two most recent performances marked the first time since Nov. 27 he got to the 20-point mark. In fact, in Paulsen's last four outings prior to the Central Michigan game, the senior had averaged just seven points per game, with 17 of his 28 points in that span coming in just one contest (at Loyola Dec. 8). He had also made just four of his last 16 attempts from three-point range before knocking in 11-of-21 from long range in the last three wins.
Bounce From The Bench
UWM head coach Rob Jeter continues to look to his bench for contributions. In fact, the Panthers had played at least 10 players in the first 10 games this season before seeing the rotation trimmed to nine players in the win over Central Michigan. Then, all 10 players dressed for the game pitched-in during the two most recent wins. Milwaukee has already had five players record double-figure outings off the bench, with Deion James turning the trick three times. His latest such effort came Thursday in the win over Wright State, with James contributing 12 points. It was his second double-figure outing in the last three games.
Shooting From Long Range
The Panthers set a season-high in making 12 three-point shots in the win over Wright State Thursday. And, while UWM has not been stellar from long range this season, it wasn't hard to see a strong night from beyond the arc was on the way. The Panthers had made seven 3-point baskets in each of the last two games and have now made 26 threes in their last three outings. UWM's previous season-high for threes was nine, set in the win at Ball State in November.
Getting To The Foul Line
After scoring a season-low 39 points in the loss to Wisconsin Dec. 12, the Panthers' offense has started to click. In fact, UWM is averaging 76.3 points per game in its last three outings. Of particular note is the fact UWM has made it to the foul line 90 times in those three games, scoring an average of 21 points per game from the charity stripe.
Some Other Contributions
True freshman Deonte Roberts and senior Marcus Skinner have each made important contributions since taking their place in the starting lineup. Roberts' best game to date came last Saturday at Wyoming, when he scored 17 points and added nine rebounds. The nine assists marked the most by a Panther player since Clay Tucker tallied nine against Green Bay in February of 2003. Skinner, meanwhile, has a pair of double-doubles in the last month of the season, including one against Central Michigan in the game that started this current three-game win streak.
The Winning Numbers
A few statistical categories jump out in comparing the numbers in UWM's six wins against its seven losses. For one, the Panthers have attempted 124 free throws in seven losses (17.7/game) and 172 free throws in six wins (28.7/game). Also, UWM is allowing opponents to shoot 51 percent from the field in its seven losses while limiting opponents to a 42.7 percent clip in its six victories. The opponent shooting percentage in losses includes 43.3 percent (55-of-127) from three-point range. Finally, the Panthers are averaging 79.5 points per game in six victories while scoring just 63.9 points per game in seven losses.
UWM has already overcome double-digit deficits to win twice this season, including Nov. 20 against South Dakota State. The Nov. 14 comeback from 17 points down in the second half against Ball State is the best comeback by a Panther team since 2001, when UWM recovered from a 21-point deficit to beat Virginia Tech in overtime. Plus, UWM has actually recovered from double-digit deficits to take the lead in two other games this season, including Dec. 8 at Loyola when the Panthers turned an 11-point deficit into a four-point lead before falling in overtime.
Panthers On The Tube
UWM and Time Warner Cable have put together a multi-year agreement that makes Time Warner Sports the official television broadcast partner for Panther athletics. The three-year contract is highlighted by expanded live coverage of men's basketball. The men will appear live on Time Warner Sports more than 10 times during 2007-08, with Horizon League road contests the biggest feature of the package. The partnership will also include additional tape-delayed broadcasts. Plus, Time Warner Sports is also the home for "The Rob Jeter Show."
Panthers On The Radio
UWM men's basketball games are now heard on NewsTalk 1130 WISN. UWM Athletics and Clear Channel actually signed a five-year agreement prior to the start of the 2006-07 season, with games airing on WOKY for the fourth-straight season. But, the agreement set in motion a plan to move the games to WISN in time for the 2007-08 campaign. WISN is also the home for the weekly "Rob Jeter on Basketball" show as well as other special Panther features.
UWM plays at Youngstown State Monday at 4:30 p.m. CST.