Panthers Facing Stiff Test At Green Bay Saturday

Feb. 6, 2014

 Game #25 | Milwaukee (15-9, 5-5) @ Green Bay (19-4, 9-1)
 Date  Saturday, Feb. 8 | 1 p.m. CST
 Location  Resch Center | Green Bay, Wis.
 Milwaukee TV  Time Warner Cable Sports Channel/HLN Regional (Jim Barbar/David Kaplan)
 Radio  WISN-AM1130 (Bill Johnson and Kevin O'Connor) - Listen Live  Live Stats | HLN Broadcast
 More Information  Milwaukee Game Notes

The Last Meeting
Green Bay93  
January 12, 2014
U.S. Cellular Arena
Panthers Battle But Come Up In Short In OT Loss To Green Bay
Keifer Sykes scored 34 points and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay outscored the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 11-4 in overtime in claiming a 93-86 win at the U.S. Cellular Arena Sunday afternoon. The highly-entertaining contest saw the Phoenix (13-3, 3-0 Horizon) lead by as 11 before the Panthers grabbed a nine-point second-half lead. But Green Bay forged overtime with a 10-3 run over the final three minutes of regulation and then took control in the extra session by stifling the Milwaukee offense.

Need To Know
• The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team makes the short trip north up I-43 for a Saturday afternoon contest with Green Bay.

• The Panthers snapped a three-game slide with a pair of home wins this past weekend. Milwaukee built a 20-point lead before hanging on for a win over Wright State Thursday, then led by as many as 25 points en route to a convincing win over Oakland Sunday.

• Milwaukee has had five players in double figures in each of its last two games, with all five starters in double digits Sunday. The Panthers also shot better than 56 percent in the win over Oakland and made a season-high 13 three-pointers.

• The balance UWM has shown in its last two games is something the Panthers have had all season long. Four players average at least 11 points per game and Milwaukee has had at least four players in double figures in a game 14 times.

• The Panthers have six true road wins this season after collecting just one all of last season. And, nine of the Panthers' 15 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.

• UWM has come back from a double-digit deficit to win five times this season, including four times on the road. Included in that tally is the win at Oakland in which Milwaukee trailed by 11 early on. The most recent comeback came Jan. 16 at UIC, as Milwaukee trailed by 13 points at halftime before rallying for the win.

• Milwaukee lost in overtime to Green Bay in the first meeting.

• Game #25
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team makes the short trip north up I-43 for a Saturday afternoon contest with Green Bay.

• A Quick Scout
Green Bay enters Saturday's game 19-4 overall and 9-1 in league play ... Green Bay's only league loss came at Valparaiso ... Green Bay's only home loss came against Wisconsin ... Keifer Sykes is making his case for League Player of the Year honors, averaging better than 20 points per game ... Alec Brown and Greg Mays are also averaging in double figures ... Green Bay was picked to win the league ... the Panthers do have three wins in their last eight trips to Green Bay ... Green Bay swept the season series with Milwaukee a season ago, including a win in the league tournament ... Jeter was on the Marquette coaching staff when Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle was a player.

• The First Matchup
Keifer Sykes scored 34 points and Green Bay outscored Milwaukee 11-4 in overtime in claiming a 93-86 win at the U.S. Cellular Arena Jan. 12. The highly-entertaining contest saw the Phoenix lead by as many as 11 before the Panthers grabbed a nine-point second-half lead. But Green Bay forged overtime with a 10-3 run over the final three minutes of regulation and then took control in the extra session by stifling the Milwaukee offense. Jordan Aaron led five Panthers in double-figures with 26 points, including a stretch of 13-straight points in the second half. Matt Tiby added 20 points and seven rebounds, while Kyle Kelm had a double-double of 11 points and 12 boards.

• On The Road Again
After a run of three-straight games at home, the Panthers are back on the road Saturday. In fact, in a season that seems to have Milwaukee regularly away from home, Saturday's game opens a closing stretch that sees the Panthers play four of their final six regular season contests away from home. 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 10 road wins and only 19 road+neutral victories in non-league play.

• Schedule Quirks
There are certainly some oddities and quirks in the Panthers' 2014 Horizon League schedule. Milwaukee is currently in the middle of a stretch that sees it playing just four games in a 25-day period. The Panthers haven't played since last Sunday's win over Oakland and won't play again until hosting Valparaiso next Saturday. Bookending this quiet stretch is a pair of grinding runs for Milwaukee. The Panthers played four games in a nine-day period at the end of January and finish the regular season with four games in eight days.

• Last Time Out
Jordan Aaron scored 23 points to lead five players in double figures as UWM collected an 86-64 win over Oakland Sunday afternoon at the Klotsche Center. The Panthers led by as many as nine points in the first half and then broke the game open in the second 20 minutes. Milwaukee shot 56.6 percent from the field overall and made a season-high 13 three-pointers. Austin Arians contributed 16 points for the Panthers. Kyle Kelm added 12, Steve McWhorter 11 and Matt Tiby 10. Plus Tiby had 17 rebounds, tied for the second-most in Division I school history.

• Turning Things Around
After dropping three-straight games, all by double-figures, the Panthers seem to have gotten themselves back on track in their last two outings. Many of the stumbles and many of the improvements have come on the offensive end, which has actually been a strength for Milwaukee much of the season. The Panthers had no one in double figures in a loss to Detroit, the final game of the three-game slide. But, UWM has since had five players in double digits in wins over Wright State and Oakland. That's just one of many areas of improvement for Milwaukee over the last week.

	        Last 2	Losing Streak
PPG	        77.0	57.7
FG%	        53.0	34.5
3FG%	        40.0	19.7
Reb. Margin	+9.5	-8.3
FT Margin	+9	-18
Pts Per Poss.	1.085	.806

• Key Numbers
Twenty-four games into the season, some key trends and figures have started to emerge for Milwaukee.

- The Panthers are 12-4 when sophomore Austin Arians is in double digits.

- Milwaukee has gone 10-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the field.

- UWM is 9-1 when outrebounding its opponent.

- The Panthers are 13-3 when opponents shoot under 45 percent.

- Milwaukee has hit at least 80 points nine times, going 8-1 in those games. The only loss this year when scoring 80 or more came in overtime to Green Bay, and the Panthers are 48-5 all-time under Rob Jeter when scoring 80 or more.

- Milwaukee is averaging 77.1 points per game in its 15 wins but just 62.4 points per game in its nine losses.

• A Record Of Good Things
The Panthers have assembled a very solid track record of success in 2013-14. After having been picked to finish last in the Horizon League, the Panthers exceeded last season's win total in December and could clinch a plus-.500 season with just three more wins. Milwaukee has also already surpassed its league win total of a year ago. Some of the accomplishments and highlights so far this season:

- 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 foes, Milwaukee had two more non-league wins than any other school in the league.

- The Panthers have scored 80 or more points nine times this season after doing it just four times all of last season. That's the most since the 2010-11 campaign, when Milwaukee 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.

- 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.

• New Season, New Numbers
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	71.6	+8.9
FG Percentage	38.8	44.2	+5.4
FT Percentage	68.4	72.5	+4.1
Asst. Per Game	10.9	13.9	+3.0
TO Per Game	14.2	13.6	-0.6

• 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 Jan. 16 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

• Plenty Of Options
UWM has had a variety of players step up on offense throughout this season. Malcolm Moore was the breakthrough star again Thursday night against Wright State, collecting 12 points off the bench. Eight of them came in the opening minutes as the Panthers quickly built a double-digit lead. Milwaukee has now had 14 double-figure point performances off the bench and 10 different Panthers have collected at least one double-figure outing this season. Four players enter play Saturday averaging at least 11 points per game. Milwaukee has had five players reach double figures in a game six 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 416 free throws through 24 games. Even better, the Panthers are shooting very well from the line, converting on 72.5 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).

• Proving A Point
Junior Steve McWhorter has been an obvious calming presence for the Panthers. He has often been the spark in Milwaukee's comeback wins and has been the driving force behind the Panthers' vastly improved offense. He has just 52 turnovers this season in spite of playing more than 33 minutes per game. And his 93 assists have produced a very positive assist-to-turnover ratio. 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, 26 and 23 points and is averaging a team-best 13.7 points per game. With teams clearly aiming to control Milwaukee's post game, the duo is averaging 26.7 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. Tiby collected 17 rebounds in Sunday's win, the second-highest total in a single game in school history. The sophomore had followed up a streak of 12-straight games in double figures with a string of three-games in single digits. But he was back in double figures in scoring Sunday, tallying his fifth double-double. Meanwhile, Kelm has upped his scoring average from 5.1 points per game a season ago to 12.0 points per contest this season. He has been in double digits in points in 18 of his 24 outings and has now played in 114 career games and made 50 starts. His career tallies now sit at 757 points and 434 rebounds.



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