Feb. 13, 2014
| Game #26 | Valparaiso (15-11, 7-4) @ Milwaukee (16-9, 6-5)
|| Saturday, Feb. 15 | 7 p.m. CST
|| U.S. Cellular Arena | Milwaukee, Wis.
| Milwaukee TV
|| Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (Daron Sutton/Adrian Tigert)
|| WISN-AM1130 (Bill Johnson) - Listen Live
|| Gametracker | HLN Broadcast
| More Information
|| Milwaukee Game Notes | Tickets
Need To Know
The Last Meeting
January 18, 2014
Valpo Overcomes Slow Start To Knock Off Milwaukee
LaVonte Dority had 27 points and Valparaiso held the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to 32 percent shooting from the floor as the Crusaders claimed a 75-62 win Saturday afternoon at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Panthers (13-7, 3-3 Horizon) bolted to a 14-5 lead in the first seven minutes of the game before the Crusaders (11-9, 3-2) controlled the final 33 minutes of the contest.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team returns to the U.S. Cellular Arena to host Valparaiso Saturday night.
The Panthers have won three games in a row and can move into a tie for third place with a victory Saturday.
Milwaukee's latest win in the run came this past Saturday in Green Bay, where the Panthers led by as many as 18 points en route to an impressive 73-63 victory.
Jordan Aaron continued his very strong recent run of play Saturday, pouring in 30 points. Twenty-three of those points came after halftime, including a run of 10-straight as the Panthers blew the game open. Aaron has now made 17-of-26 shots from the field over the last two games. He has now taken over the top spot on the Panthers' scoring chart this season and is currently averaging 14.3 points per game.
UWM has now had huge leads in each of its last three games, going up by as many as 20 points against Wright State, 25 against Oakland and 18 against Green Bay. The Panthers are averaging nearly 76 points per game in those three outings and are shooting 50.3 percent in that span.
Milwaukee is trying to get its seventh home win of the season Saturday. But UWM has truly made its mark on the road. The Panthers have seven true road wins this season after collecting just one all of last season. And, 10 of the Panthers' 16 victories this year have come outside of the city of Milwaukee.
The Panthers lost at Valparaiso, 75-62, in the first matchup between the two teams. Valpo is 4-7 on the road this season.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team returns from a week-long break to host Valparaiso Saturday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena.
A Quick Scout
Valparaiso is 15-11 overall and 7-4 in the Horizon League ... the Crusaders currently sit in third place in the league standings ... Valpo split a pair of home games this past weekend, losing to Detroit before beating Oakland on a late three-pointer ... after Saturday's game at Milwaukee, the Crusaders still have road games at Green Bay and Wright State on their schedule ... the Crusaders have won two-straight league regular season titles ... LaVonte Dority averages 16.9 points per game and is one of two Crusaders in double figures ... Valpo averages nearly 75 points per game and shoots better than 47 percent from the floor .. Valparaiso leads the all-time series with UWM, 15-11 ... VU swept Milwaukee last season, winning each game by 20-plus points ... the Crusaders also claimed a win at The Cell in 2012 but the Panthers beat VU twice in Milwaukee in 2011.
The First Matchup
LaVonte Dority had 27 points and Valparaiso held UWM to 32 percent shooting from the floor as the Crusaders claimed a 75-62 win Jan. 18 at the Athletics-Recreation Center. The Panthers bolted to a 14-5 lead in the first seven minutes of the game before the Crusaders controlled the final 33 minutes of the contest. Matt Tiby had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead Milwaukee, but the Panthers took 31 three-point shots and were never on track offensively after the opening minutes of the game.
After three weeks without a game at the U.S. Cellular Arena, the Panthers are returning downtown for their final two home games. Milwaukee has played at home recently, beating Wright State and Oakland at the Klotsche Center two weeks ago when the Arenacross displaced the Panthers from the downtown arena. But, thanks to a five-year agreement between the Wisconsin Center District and UWM, Panther basketball is again back downtown on a more permanent basis. Nine regular season games are there this season, with the full schedule expected to be played downtown in future seasons. Before moving to the on-campus Klotsche Center for the 2012-13 season, Milwaukee had played nearly all of its home games downtown since 2003-04.
The Homecourt Advantage
The Panthers are seeking their seventh homecourt win of the season Friday night against Detroit. It is notable Milwaukee has experienced a few bumps in the road at home this year, losing to DePaul, Cleveland State, Green Bay and Detroit. Since returning to the Division I ranks in 1990, the Panthers have played 213 regular season and postseason 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 97-40 mark at The Cell.
There are certainly some oddities and quirks in the Panthers' 2014 Horizon League schedule. Milwaukee is currently wrapping up a stretch that sees it playing just four games in a 25-day period. The Panthers haven't played since last Saturday's win over Green Bay and hadn't played for almost a week before that game. But, 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. Interestingly, the Panthers will be facing some well-rested teams in that closing stretch. As Milwaukee wraps up its two-game trip to northeast Ohio next Saturday in Cleveland, the Vikings will have had a full week off leading up to the game. And, when UWM plays its fourth game in eight days at Detroit Feb. 27, the Titans won't have played for nearly a full week.
Last Time Out
Jordan Aaron scored 30 points and UWM led by as many as 18 points in the second half en route to a 73-63 win over first-place Green Bay last Saturday afternoon at the Resch Center. The Panthers controlled the second half, as Aaron scored 23 of his points after halftime while Milwaukee shot 60 percent from the field. Milwaukee took command of the game with a 24-7 run midway through the second 20 minutes. Aaron was the leader of the burst, scoring 10-straight by himself at one point and winding up with 15 of Milwaukee's 24 points during the run.
Turning Things Around
After dropping three-straight games, all by double-figures, the Panthers have gotten themselves back on track in their last three 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 while five players had at least eight points in the win at Green Bay. That's just one of many areas of improvement for Milwaukee over the last two weeks.
Last 3 Losing Streak
PPG 75.7 57.7
FG% 50.3 34.5
3FG% 40.7 19.7
Reb. Margin +6.0 -8.3
FT Margin +14 -18
Pts Per Poss. 1.088 .806
Getting It Done On The Road
One of the major keys to success this season for Milwaukee has been its play away from home. UWM now has seven true road wins and 10 total victories outside of Milwaukee. In non-league play, 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 combined for just 10 road wins and only 19 road+neutral victories in non-league play. It's a good thing the Panthers have played well outside of Milwaukee. UWM 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.
Twenty-five 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 11-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the field.
- UWM is 9-1 when outrebounding its opponent.
- The Panthers are 14-3 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 76.9 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 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 10 different venues, including two different home venues and three different venues in the state of Wisconsin. 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 71.7 +9.0
FG Percentage 38.8 44.2 +5.4
FT Percentage 68.4 72.8 +4.4
Asst. Per Game 10.9 13.9 +3.0
TO Per Game 14.2 13.6 -0.6
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 has been the breakthrough star of late. Two weeks ago against Wright State, he collected 12 points off the bench. Eight of them came in the opening minutes as the Panthers quickly built a double-digit lead. Then this past Saturday at Green Bay, the senior had nine points, six rebounds and three blocks. 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 10.8 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.