Men’s Basketball Schedule
Friday, Feb. 10:
Milwaukee at Detroit, 7 p.m. ET – ESPN3
Green Bay at Wright State, 9 p.m. ET – ESPNU
Saturday, Feb. 11:
Butler at Cleveland State, 11 a.m. ET – ESPN2
UIC at Loyola, 2 p.m. ET – Horizon League Network Game of the Week | ESPN3
Valparaiso at Youngstown State, 7:05 p.m. ET – Horizon League Network
Sunday, Feb. 12:
Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m. ET – Horizon League Network | FS Detroit
Milwaukee at Wright State, 3 p.m. ET – Horizon League Network
Upheaval was the name of the game on Thursday evening, with the teams sitting in first and third place in the Horizon League knocked off their perches. Whether that continues on the League ladder this weekend remains to be seen, but with just two games separating the teams in third and eighth, chaos is bubbling just under the surface.
The weekend begins at Calihan Hall, where one of the hottest teams in the conference, Detroit (13-12, 7-6 Horizon) welcomes Milwaukee (15-10, 8-5 Horizon) to the Motor City before an ESPN3 audience.
The Titans have won seven of their last 10 games to climb into sixth place entering Friday’s game; however, a win would give Detroit a season split with the Panthers and temporarily create a four-way tie for third place in the Horizon League with Milwaukee, Butler and Youngstown State.
Milwaukee could create a small gap on the teams looking to move into a tie with a victory – a win puts the Panthers a game ahead of the Bulldogs and Penguins and gives UWM a series sweep of Detroit, a potentially key tie-breaker.
When the teams first met on Jan. 14, Milwaukee buried Detroit under a flurry of three-pointers, with Paris Gulley hitting six of the team’s 14 three-pointers in an 84-74 win. Gulley finished with a career-best 26 points as the Panthers raced out to a 51-31 lead and held on down the stretch.
Kaylon Williams finished with 12 points and nine assists, while his counterpart in the battle of All-League point guards, Ray McCallum, led the Titans with 23 points.
Detroit’s defense has consistently ranked among the worst in the League, allowing 68.2 points on the year, but since the turn of the new year, the Titans have held opponents to 65 or fewer points on four occasions, winning all four contests. The most recent came in last Saturday’s 65-61 win at Hinkle, in which McCallum led all scorers with 20 points.
Milwaukee rebounded from a disappointing home loss to Youngstown State with a big 81-75 win at Green Bay last Saturday in which Gulley starred once more, collecting 20 points and hitting six of the team’s 12 three-pointers.
Friday’s nightcap sees two of the country’s youngest teams squaring off as Green Bay (9-13, 5-7 Horizon) visits Wright State (11-14, 6-7 Horizon) at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Though Brian Wardle
and Billy Donlon
(two of the country’s youngest coaches in their own right) would argue that youth no longer matters at this time of the year, the Phoenix entered the season as the country’s 13th
-youngest team while the Raiders are the sixth-youngest in the nation.
Both coaches have laid the foundations for success this year, and Friday night’s game will feature a battle in the backcourt between two diminutive freshmen, with Keifer Sykes
leading Green Bay and Reggie Arceneaux
handling the ball for Wright State.
It was Sykes who keyed Green Bay’s come-from-behind 57-56 win over Wright State on Jan. 14, finishing with a game-high 16 points – including the game-winning free throws with 3.0 seconds left. Since turning 18 on Dec. 30, Sykes is averaging 14.9 points and 4.3 assists per game, shooting 52.6 percent from the field.
Arceneaux had 11 in that contest and has been the Raiders’ second-leading scorer throughout the year, with most of the offense running through Julius Mays
, who has starred in his first year with the team. The Marian, Ind.-native enters Friday leading the League in scoring with a 16.9 ppg average in conference play.
Mays’ Achilles injury limited him to 15 points in the loss at the Resch Center, but Alec Brown
also limited Wright State, as the 7-foot-1 sophomore recorded a Horizon League-record 11 blocks in the victory. Brown took just four shots from the floor, but led a Green Bay attack that was able to get to the free throw line throughout the afternoon, converting 26-of-35 free throws.
With both teams sitting just outside the hunt for a home game in the first round of the League Tournament, Friday’s game is key; Wright State could pull into a tie for sixth with Detroit with a win and a Titans loss. If the Phoenix can snare their first road win of the year, they would jump Wright State for seventh and own the tie-breaker with the series sweep.
Saturday morning allows fans to wake up with the Horizon League, as Butler (14-12, 8-6 Horizon) will look for a sweep of its road trip through Northeast Ohio when they meet an angry Cleveland State (20-5, 10-3 Horizon) squad. ESPN2 will have coverage of the game, which tips at 11 a.m. ET.
Butler went to Youngstown State and knocked off the Penguins, 68-59, on Thursday, lifting the Bulldogs into a tie for fourth in the Horizon League, just one-half game behind Milwaukee for third. Meanwhile, with a chance to grab control of the conference, Cleveland State was blitzed early by Valparaiso and never recovered in a 59-41 home loss.
With an expected 6,000-plus fans at the Wolstein Center for the nationally televised game, the Vikings will be looking to keep pace with Valparaiso and pick up its first season sweep of Butler since the 2004-05 season.
It will be a battle of the old guard versus the newcomers, as Cleveland State will rely on its upperclassmen – Jeremy Montgomery
, Trey Harmon
, Aaron Pogue
and Tim Kamczyc
– to overcome the loss of D’Aundray Brown. The Vikings’ youth will come from freshman Anton Grady
, whose growth in League play has him among the leading rebounders in the conference with 6.6 per game.
Butler, meanwhile, has turned things over to its underclassmen, with the sophomore and freshman classes accounting for 49 of the team’s 68 points on Thursday. Chrishawn Hopkins
led Butler with 19, while Jackson Aldridge
set career highs with 15 points and three three-pointers in the win while Roosevelt Jones
posted 11 points and nine boards.
Those three combined for just 13 points in Butler’s 76-69 loss to the Vikings on Jan. 13, in which each team traded runs before Cleveland State held off the Bulldogs down the stretch. Four Vikings finished that game in double figures, with Montgomery and Kamczyc scoring 18 and 17 points, respectively. Grady came off the bench to post 11 and eight.
Butler was led by its upperclassmen in that game, with Andrew Smith
(13), Ronald Nored
(12) and Chase Stigall
(12) putting up a combined 37 points. The Bulldogs had one of their best games from the three-point arc in that one, going 10-of-21 from behind the arc, including a 4-of-7 effort from Stigall.
The Horizon League Network Game of the Week showcases the Windy City Rivalry between UIC (7-16, 3-10 Horizon) and Loyola (5-18, 0-13 Horizon).
The Ramblers and Flames are meeting for the 48th
time in a series that traces its roots to 1986, when Loyola won a high-scoring, 104-101 affair in the first-ever contests between the city schools. When the teams tangled last month at the UIC Pavilion, Loyola had a four-game winning streak against UIC snapped in a 58-51 loss on Jan. 14. Daniel Barnes
left his mark on the series, knocking down six three-pointers, accounting for his team-high 18 points.
Barnes was joined in double figures by Gary Talton
, who added 16 points, while Darrin Williams added 11 points and seven boards. In conference play, Barnes and Talton are combining for 24.0 ppg, with Talton ranking seventh in the League with a 13.5 ppg average.
Loyola, still searching for its first win in conference play, has been racked by injuries of late. Walt Gibler
returned from injury to move into the 1,000-point club last Sunday and needs nine rebounds to become the 18th
player in Ramblers history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds for his career.Ben Averkamp
missed last weekend’s games due to concussion-like symptoms and could return to the Loyola lineup, bolstering an offense that is averaging just 54.5 points this season. Prior to his injury, Averkamp was averaging 11.7 ppg in League play.
Fresh off its 18-point win at Cleveland State, Valparaiso (18-8, 11-3 Horizon) will look to maintain control of the Horizon League at Youngstown State (13-11, 8-6 Horizon) on Saturday night.
With the status of Kevin Van Wijk
(knee) up in the air, the Crusaders will lean heavily on Ryan Broekhoff
and Richie Edwards
. The duo had 44 of Valpo’s 59 points on Thursday, helping offset the loss of Van Wijk, who went down in a heap early in the game. Broekhoff opened the game with 11 straight points for the Crusaders, and he and Edwards reversed momentum to start the second half with a triple and a three-point play to blunt CSU’s dreams of a comeback.
Broekhoff’s 24-point, 10-rebound effort was his ninth of the year and helped the junior solidify his League Player of the Year credentials. At 15.3 ppg and 8.6 rpg on the year, Broekhoff ranks third in the conference in scoring and first in rebounding. Overall, the Aussie is among the top 10 in eight different statistical categories.
The Crusaders will be meeting an angry Youngstown State squad that hit just three three-pointers in its loss to Butler and played too slow for head coach Jerry Slocum’s liking. Kendrick Perry continued his scoring binge, however, putting up a game-best 23 points, giving him a 25.0 ppg average over his last four games.
While the Penguins have been perimeter-oriented throughout the year, averaging 8.8 threes per game, Valparaiso took down YSU, 76-62, on Jan. 13 with its play on the interior, as Van Wijk tallied a career-best 23 points. The Crusaders also matched the Penguins three-for-three, with each team finishing with seven three-pointers.
The attack of YSU boasts four players who rank among the League leaders in scoring, as Perry checks in third (15.5 ppg), Ashen Ward
(12.5 ppg), Blake Allen
(12.2 ppg) and Damian Eargle
(11.0). Defensively, Eargle has controlled the paint, averaging 3.8 blocks per game in conference play, while his 4.0 mark overall is third in the nation.
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