Feb. 24, 2014
Need To Know
The Last Meeting
January 16, 2014
Huge Second Half Turnaround Sends Panthers To Victory At UIC
Jordan Aaron scored 18 points and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 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 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team plays its final regular season home game of the 2013-14 season when it welcomes UIC to the U.S. Cellular Arena Tuesday night.
The Panthers have dropped three in a row, including a 74-50 loss at the hands of Cleveland State Saturday afternoon.
UWM struggled on offense against the Vikings, missing 18 of their first 20 shots. Milwaukee wound up shooting just 31.9 percent from the floor for the game, the second time in the last three outings the Panthers have shot under 32 percent.
Milwaukee enters play Tuesday in a four-way tie for fifth place. The Panthers would clinch at least the fifth seed and a first-round home game with two wins this week.
UWM will honors its six seniors prior to Tuesday's game. The class includes Jordan Aaron, Kyle Kelm, Thierno Niang, Malcolm Moore, Mitch Roelke and Quinton Gustavson, players who have spent anywhere from one to five seasons in Milwaukee.
Aaron will be available for Tuesday's game after serving three games of his four-game suspension for a violation of team rules. He will serve the final game of the suspension Thursday night at Detroit.
Niang remains sidelined by a sprained knee that occurred in the first half at Youngstown State Thursday.
UWM won 67-63 at UIC in the first matchup between the two teams. The Panthers overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to claim the win.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team plays its final home game of the 2013-14 regular season when UIC visits the U.S. Cellular Arena Tuesday.
A Quick Scout
UIC is 5-23 overall and 0-14 in the Horizon League ... the Flames have dropped 17-straight games ... Kelsey Barlow leads UIC at 14.2 points per game ... the Flames are allowing teams to shoot 47 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range.
The First Matchup
Jordan Aaron scored 18 points and UWM overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to claim a 67-63 win over UIC Jan. 16 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.
The Panthers are playing their final regular season home game Tuesday night, capping off their return to the U.S. Cellular Arena. It will be just Milwaukee's second game downtown since late January, as the Panthers have spent plenty of time on the road and also played two league games at the on-campus Klotsche Center because of an Arenacross event at The Cell. 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 Tuesday night against UIC. It is notable Milwaukee has experienced a few bumps in the road at home this year, losing to DePaul, Cleveland State, Green Bay, Detroit and Valparaiso. Since returning to the Division I ranks in 1990, the Panthers have played 214 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 97-41 mark at The Cell.
There are certainly some oddities and quirks in the Panthers' 2014 Horizon League schedule. Just over a week ago, the Panthers were wrapping up a stretch of just four games in a 25-day period. But, UWM is currently in a run of four games in eight games. The Panthers also had a stretch of four games in nine days earlier this season. Interestingly, the Panthers are facing some well-rested teams in this closing stretch. When Milwaukee wrapped up its two-game trip to northeast Ohio in Cleveland Saturday, the Vikings 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.
The Stretch Run
There's quite a battle going on for Horizon League Tournament positioning over the final few two weeks of the regular season. Green Bay has clinched no worse than a share of the league title and will host the bulk of the league tournament at the Resch Center. Valparaiso and Cleveland State are battling for spots two and three in the standings, with the Vikings holding the inside track. Then, there is a large group of teams - including Milwaukee - who could wind up anywhere from fourth through eighth. As in past seasons, the top two teams in the standings get byes into the semifinals while the third-place team gets a bye into the second round. The teams that finish fourth, fifth or sixth will host first round games. Two things are working in Milwaukee's favor when it comes to tiebreakers as the Panthers own a win over Green Bay and UWM also swept Oakland. The Panthers would claim no worse than the fifth seed with two wins this week.
Ins And Outs
Jordan Aaron will be back in the Panther rotation Tuesday after serving the first three games of his four-game suspension. The final game of the suspension will be served Thursday at Detroit. Aaron has already missed games with Valparaiso, Youngstown State and Cleveland State. Aaron will also return for all postseason games. Meanwhile, senior Thierno Niang also appears likely to be sidelined for some time after leaving last Thursday's game at Youngstown State with a sprained knee.
The Panthers will be honoring a large group of six seniors before Tuesday's game. The group includes players who have spent anywhere between one and five seasons in Milwaukee, and also includes two walk-ons.
Quinton Gustavson has been a steady part of the Panther program since he joined the team in 2009. He didn't play in either of his first two seasons but has now appeared in 30 games over the last three seasons. The walk-on has scored 34 career points and made five 3-pointers.
Malcolm Moore has been perhaps the best story for the Panthers during the 2013-14 season. He graduated after two injury-plagued seasons at UTEP and transferred to UWM, where he has been a key contributor. Moore has played in 28 games and scored eight or more points five times. He also has had at least five rebounds four times.
Thierno Niang has battled through injuries in his two season with the Panthers. Last season, Niang was a starter early in the season before being sidelined by a back injury. This year, he also started early in the year but has again found himself limited by a variety of ailments. Still, Niang has played in 33 games and made 10 starts in his two seasons. His career has been highlighted by an 8-point, 12-rebound performance in a win over Davidson and three total double-figure point performances.
Jordan Aaron has been a standout offensively in his two seasons in Milwaukee. Last season, Aaron earned Horizon League All-Newcomer Team honors after averaging 14.4 points per game. He started 30 games during the year, playing mainly at the point guard position. This season, Aaron shifted to off-guard and has made the transition smoothly. He leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game and has now reached double figures 40 times in 56 games as a Panther. In his two-year career, Aaron has 820 points and 188 assists, making 122 three-pointers.
Mitch Roelke has contributed in a variety of ways during his five years with the Panther program. Roelke started as a team manager in 2009 and joined the active roster the next season, playing in two games. Three years later, Roelke has spent time as part of the regular rotation and even has one start under his belt. In all he has played in 52 games, making 17 three-pointers while averaging better than a point per game.
Kyle Kelm has been a force on the inside for the Panthers over his four-year career. He will be playing in his 119th career game tonight while making his 55th start. Kelm now has over 800 career points and nearly 500 career rebounds. This season has been Kelm's best, as he is averaging more than 12 points per game while shooting nearly 55 percent from the field. Over his career, Kelm has been in double figures in points 38 times and double figures in rebounds six times, collecting four double-doubles.
Last Time Out
Charlie Lee scored 14 points to lead four players in double figures as Cleveland State claimed a 74-50 win over UWM Saturday afternoon at the Wolstein Center. CSU took advantage of ice-cold Milwaukee shooting to build a 16-point lead at the half. The Vikings then made five of their first six from three-point range to start the second half in putting the game away. Kyle Kelm had 13 points to lead Milwaukee, which missed 18 of its first 20 shots from the field.
- The Panthers are 12-5 when sophomore Austin Arians is in double digits.
- Milwaukee has gone 11-3 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 10 times, going 8-2 in those games. The only losses this year when scoring 80 or more came in overtime to Green Bay and Youngstown State, and the Panthers are 48-6 all-time under Rob Jeter when scoring 80 or more.
- Milwaukee is averaging nearly 77 points per game in its 16 wins but only 62 points per game in its 12 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 one more win. Milwaukee has also already surpassed its league win total of a year ago. Some of the accomplishments and highlights so far:
- 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.
- The Panthers have scored 80 or more points 10 times this season after doing it just four times all of last season. That's the most since the 2005-06 campaign, 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.
Plenty Of Options
UWM has had a variety of players step up on offense throughout this season. With JeVon Lyle and J.J. Panoske both getting into double digits Thursday, Milwaukee has now had 16 double-figure point performances off the bench and 10 different Panthers have collected at least one double-figure outing this season. In fact, nine players have been in double digits at least twice. Four players enter play Tuesday averaging at least 11.2 points per game. Milwaukee has had five players reach double figures in a game six times and four players do so in nine other contests.
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 485 free throws through 28 games. Even better, the Panthers are shooting very well from the line, converting on 72.4 percent of their attempts. The school record for free throw percentage is 74.5 percent, set in the 1993-94 campaign. Milwaukee is also close to breaking the single-season record for made free throws (542).