Panthers Continue Road Swing Saturday At Valparaiso

Jan. 17, 2014

 Game #20 | Milwaukee (13-6, 3-2) @ Valparaiso (10-9, 2-2)
 Date  Saturday, Jan. 18 | 1 p.m. CST
 Location  Athletics-Recreation Center | Valparaiso, Ind.
 Milwaukee TV/Video  Time Warner Cable SportsChannel/HLN (Jim Barbar/David Kaplan)
 Radio  WISN-AM1130 (Bill Johnson and Kevin O'Connor) - Listen Live  Gametracker | HLN Broadcast
 More Information  Milwaukee Game Notes

The Last Meeting
February 1, 2013
Valparaiso, Ind.
First-Place Crusaders Prove Too Much For Panthers
Ben Boggs and Will Bogan scored 12 points apiece as first-place Valparaiso cruised to a 71-40 win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Friday night at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Crusaders (17-6, 7-2 Horizon) used a 23-3 run over the final six minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second half to take control of the game. Jordan Aaron scored 17 points to lead Milwaukee (5-18, 1-8), which shot just 27.3 percent from the field and committed 16 turnovers.

Need To Know
• The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team plays its second game of a three-game road swing Saturday at Valparaiso.

• The Panthers got their stretch of road games off to a positive start with a 67-63 come-from-behind win over UIC Thursday night in Chicago.

• Milwaukee trailed by 13 points at halftime before rallying for the win. It marked the fifth time this season the Panthers have overcome a double-digit deficit to claim a victory.

• The Panthers continue to get a wide variety of contributions. Thursday they came off the bench from Malcolm Moore and Cody Wichmann, with Moore collecting eight points and nine rebounds while Wichmann made three 3-pointers on his way to 11 points.

• UWM has made its mark on the road. The Panthers now have six true road wins this season after collecting just one all of last season. And, nine of the Panthers' 13 victories this year have come outside of the city of Milwaukee. The four non-league road wins UWM has claimed are the most since the 2004-05 campaign.

• The Panthers have shown great balance on offense. Milwaukee has four players averaging in double figures, led by Matt Tiby's 14.2 points per game. In fact, all four players in double digits are averaging at least 11.6 ppg and the Panthers have had 10 different players reach double-figures at least once this season. Four players reached double figures in Thursday's win.

• UWM has already scored 80 or more points eight times this season after doing it just four times all of last season.

• Game #20
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team continues a stretch of three-straight road games with a Saturday afternoon contest at Valparaiso.

• A Quick Scout
Valparaiso is 10-9 overall and 2-2 in the Horizon League ... the Crusaders moved back to .500 in the league by winning at Detroit Wednesday night ... VU also owns a home win over UIC ... the Crusaders have won two-straight league regular season titles ... LaVonte Dority averages 15.4 points per game and is one of three Crusaders in double figures ... Valpo averages nearly 78 points per game and shoots better than 48 percent from the floor .. Valparaiso leads the all-time series with UWM, 14-11 ... VU swept Milwaukee last season, winning each game by 20-plus points ... UWM did win at the ARC the previous season.

• Not Home Much
The Panthers certainly aren't spending any extended time on their home court this season. In fact, UWM spent nearly a month between home games before league play started. Milwaukee is playing just 12 of its 30 regular season games at home this year and 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 now has six true road wins and nine total victories outside of Milwaukee. In non-league play alone, UWM had four true road wins and seven wins outside of Milwaukee. Those non-league totals are particularly notable around the Horizon League, as the other eight teams in the league combined for just nine road wins and only 18 road+neutral victories in non-league play.

• Odd Road Trips
One thing the recent Horizon League membership changes has ensured is some scheduling oddities and clear differences from previous seasons. This season, Milwaukee makes single-game trips for road contests at Oakland, Detroit and Wright State while only facing two traditional Thursday-Saturday road swings. This weekend's trip to UIC and Valparaiso is the first time those two road games have been paired together on the Milwaukee schedule. In looking only at league road swings that involve two games in three days since the 2001-02 campaign, UWM has won both games of a trip seven times, split a trip nine times and been swept 12 times. Meanwhile, this is the fourth time in the last six years Milwaukee will be playing three-straight league road games. But, it is the first time since 2007-08 the Panthers are playing three league road games in six days.

• So Many Good Things
Milwaukee has gotten its 2013-14 season off to a very nice start, posting a 13-6 record through 19 games while making a strong push toward exceeding external expectations. The list of highlights and accomplishments so far this year is long.

- Milwaukee finished its non-league schedule with 10 wins, equaling the most of any Horizon League team and setting a new school record for non-league wins. If you count only wins over Division I goes, Milwaukee had two more non-league wins than any other school in the league.

- The Panthers have scored 80 or more points eight times this season after doing it just four times all of last season. That's the most since the 2010-11 campaign, when Milwaukee also hit the 80-point mark eight times. The highest recent tally was 2005-06, when UWM hit 80 or more 11 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.

- UWM 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 nine different venues, including two different home venues. Plus, Milwaukee has beaten teams from nine different conferences.

- Milwaukee has two wins over NCAA Tournament teams (Davidson and James Madison).

• 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 it has improved dramatically in nearly every key statistical category:

		12-13	13-14	Diff
Points Scored	62.7	73.3	+10.6
FG Percentage	38.8	44.9	+6.1
FT Percentage	68.4	74.4	+6.0
Asst. Per Game	10.9	13.9	+3.0
TO Per Game	14.2	13.3	-0.9

• 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 12.5 points per contest this year. He is also shooting 56.7 percent after making only 41.0 percent of his shots in `12-'13.

- Sophomore Austin Arians is averaging 11.6 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 41 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.

- Milwaukee's two best newcomers - Steve McWhorter and Matt Tiby - have combined for 23.0 points and 10.4 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.

• Starting Tips And Trends
Milwaukee has now used the same starting lineup in 12 of its last 13 games after mixing and matching through the first six games of the year. Those five starters have all been making their mark lately.

- Kyle Kelm has had a double-double in three of his last six games.

- Steve McWhorter has reached double figures in all five league games and is averaging 7.3 assists per game in his last three outings.

- Matt Tiby has reached double-figures in 11-straight games and has two double-doubles in his last six outings.

- Jordan Aaron scored just two points against Oakland while focusing his efforts on stopping sharp-shooter Travis Bader. But, he still leads the Panthers in scoring in league play at 17.4 points per contest.

- Austin Arians has been in double figures 14 times this season after doing it just six times all of last season.

• Comeback Kids
While the Panthers don't want to make a habit of falling behind, they have demonstrated a great ability to fight back. The comeback win at UIC Thursday night marked the fifth time this season Milwaukee has overcome a double-digit deficit to claim a victory. They've done it four times on the road, and three times that double-digit deficit has been in the second half.

11/11 @ Davidson - down 11 with 16:00 left in the 2nd half; won 81-77
11/17 @ NIU - down 14 with 10:52 left in the 1st half; won 82-69
12/3 vs. Northern Iowa - down 11 with 19:05 left in 2nd half; won 83-72
1/8 @ Oakland - down 11 with 17:17 left in the 1st half; won 84-75
1/16 @ UIC - down 13 at half; won 67-63

• Last Time Out
Jordan Aaron scored 18 points and UWM overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to claim a 67-63 win over UIC Thursday night at the UIC Pavilion. After struggling through the first 20 minutes, Milwaukee claimed the lead back within the first eight minutes of the second half and then hung tight down the stretch. The Panthers received a wide variety of contributions in their comeback effort. Matt Tiby had 13 points while Steve McWhorter had 10 points and eight assists. Off the bench, freshman Cody Wichmann had 11 points and Malcolm Moore added eight points and nine rebounds.

• Proving A Point
Junior Steve McWhorter has been an obvious calming presence for the Panthers. He sparked Milwaukee's comeback last Wednesday at Oakland with 15 first-half points and wound up stuffing the stat sheet with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win. Sunday he added 10 points and seven rebounds while playing 42 minutes, then Thursday at UIC it was 10 points and eight assists while playing nearly the entire game. He has just 42 turnovers while averaging nearly 33 minutes per game. Plus, his work at the point has allowed Jordan Aaron to slide to an off-guard position, where he has now posted efforts of 33, 27 and 26 points and is averaging 13.4 points per game. With teams clearly aiming to control Milwaukee's post game, the duo is averaging better than 30 points per game in league play.

• Inside Tandem
Kyle Kelm and Matt Tiby have combined to provide a strong one-two punch inside for the Panthers this season. Thursday at UIC Tiby set the tone quickly in the second half by getting to the foul line on the first three possessions. He also had 20 in last Sunday's loss to Green Bay, his fourth 20-plus-point performance of the season. Meanwhile, Kelm has had a double-double in three of his last six games and has been in double digits in points in 15 of his 19 outings. He has now played in 109 career games and made 45 starts, scoring 705 career points. Tiby has led the Panthers in scoring four times and rebounding nine times.

• Oh So Many Options
One thing is clear over the first 19 games - Milwaukee has plenty of options on offense. Cody Wichmann has now been in double figures in two of his last three games and is one of 10 Panthers to have collected at least one double-figure outing this season. Four players enter play this weekend averaging at least 11 points per game. Milwaukee has had five players reach double figures in a game four times and four players do so in eight other contests.

• Free Stuff
The Panthers have done a strong job of establishing an inside edge and using it to get to the foul line. In fact, Milwaukee has made 340 free throws through 19 games. Even better, the Panthers are shooting very well from the line, converting on 74.4 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).



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