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Milwaukee (16-10) at Youngstown State (14-13)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 7:05 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,500) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Milwaukee 6-5, YSU 10-3. Away Record: Milwaukee 7-4, YSU 2-10. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 3-1, YSU 2-0. Conference Record: Milwaukee 6-6, YSU 5-7. Series Record: Milwaukee leads, 25-9.

GAME NOTES: Youngstown State shoots for back-to-back wins for the first time in over a month when the Penguins host the Milwaukee Panthers in Horizon League action at the Beeghly Center tonight.

Sporting a 10-3 mark at home in 2013-14, this is the best place for the Penguins right now as they try for that elusive second-straight victory. Buried in the bottom third of the conference standings with a record of 5-7, YSU did manage to snap a four-game slide over the weekend with a narrow 59-56 decision versus UIC at home in the middle game of a three-game homestand.

As for the Panthers, a team which dominated during the non-conference schedule, they had been enjoying a three-game win streak as recently as last week, but last Saturday the squad was taken out by Valparaiso at home, 77-62. Milwaukee is now just 6-5 at home, but 7-4 in true road dates.

The Panthers won the first meeting of the season early last month at home by a score of 82-76, which means the team now owns a 25-9 advantage in the all-time series.

Milwaukee was swept by Valpo in the regular-season series when the Crusaders delivered a 15-point win at U.S. Cellular Arena last Saturday night. Kyle Kelm finished with a game-high 24 points, followed by Matt Tiby with 14, the duo combining to shoot 18-of-24 at the free-throw line, but that means the rest of the roster combined to make good on only 3-of-7 at the charity stripe in front of the home town crowd.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, they are again planning on playing without starting guard Jordan Aaron, as he has been suspended for rules violations. Aaron did not play against Valpo, the only league game he has missed this season, but he is still the leading scorer versus Horizon foes with 17.3 ppg. Tiby accounts for another 11.8 ppg and is tops on the glass with 7.0 rpg, which should be more than enough to convince him to focus his energies in the paint and not out on the perimeter where he has converted just 23.1 percent of his 3-point tries.

After putting up just eight points through the first 20 minutes of action, Kendrick Perry erupted for 23 in the second half as he guided the Penguins to the three-point win over Illinois-Chicago the last time out. Not only did Perry lead the way in scoring, he also came up with one theft to set the Horizon League all-time steals record with 238. Bobby Hain added 14 points and a massive 17 rebounds, while Shawn Amiker cleared 10 boards of his own in the close call.

The Penguins have had a different leading scorer in each of the last four outings, but in terms of overall production on the season, Perry is still the top man with his 20.5 ppg overall. In conference play his average dips ever so slightly to just 20.1 ppg, but the bigger issue has to be his drop in 3-point shooting from a modest 34.5 percent to a dismal 26.7 percent (16-of-60). The result of that drop has the team going from 76.5 ppg overall, to just 69.6 ppg in league action.

Finally making it to conference play, the Panthers showed some cracks in the armor and now, with Aaron sitting on the sidelines, it opens the door for YSU to exact some revenge at home.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 68, Milwaukee 63

02/20 10:19:55 ET

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