Panthers to go to Tiby

Matt Tiby combined with the Panthers playing at home has been a successful combination for the Panthers this season. Tiby has been the definition of consistency for the Panthers this season as he has scored in double figures in every game since the middle of  December. He has also scored in double figures for rebounding in six of those games. Tiby is one of only two players in the conference to rank in the top five in the conference in both scoring and rebounding during conference games.
The only other player with that distinction is Anton Grady of Cleveland State. Tiby is coming off arguably his best game of the season on Thursday night against Green Bay as he had a season high 22 points as well as his second highest rebounding total of the season with 12. Tiby hit seven of his 14 field goal attempts on the night in addition to hitting seven of his eight free throw attempts. The Panthers have been playing with similar consistency at home this season. The Panthers have already posted more home wins this season (eight) then they did all of last season (seven) with three home games remaining this year. Tiby will look to continue his individual success as the Panthers continue their collective home success on Tuesday night against the Oakland Grizzlies.
Oakland enters into Tuesday nights game with an overall record under 500 but they have done well in conference play with a seven and three record thus far and they are a game and a half off the conference lead. The Grizzlies had won seven consecutive conference games prior to losing to Valpo last Sunday. Part of that nearly month winning streak included defeating the Panthers by a score of 66 to 53 in the first match-up of the season. In the opening game, the Panthers led by one at half time before a poor second half caused them to loose by the 13 point margin. The Golden Grizzlies are the top scoring offense in the conference averaging more then 73 points per game. Their offense has been on fire even more so over the last three games as they are up to over 86 points a game. The Golden Grizziles rank in the top 60 in the country in points, offensive field goal percentage, and assists. Oakland does not have great depth on their roster as they prefer a seven to eight man rotation in tight games.
In Sunday’s game against Valpo that was close throughout, the Grizzlies only used a total of eight players. They used four of their five starters for more then 35 minutes. In that game, Oakland also used three of those eight players for less then ten minutes played. As might be expected with those types of minute totals and team scoring numbers, the Grizzlies have several dangerous offensive players. Sophomore guard Kahlil Felder leads the team in scoring (17.1 points per game) and assists (7.4 assists per game). Felder also pulls down 4.6 rebounds per game despite being only 5’9. Senior forward Corey Petros averages 14.6 points per game and a team leading rebounding total of 8.3 rebounds per game. Petros was named conference player of the week for his performances in games last week against UIC and Valpo where he averaged 25 points per game and 12 rebounds per game. Jalen Hayes also won freshman of the week for the fifth time this year by averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 steals per game.  Dante Williams also  adds ten points per game to the Grizzles offensive attack.
There are several keys to this for the Panthers to win to continue their home winning streak. One is pace and tempo of the game. Oakland has scored over 75 points in 4 consecutive games. The Panthers need to slow the tempo of this game down in order to keep the score of the game down in the 60’s. The Panthers are not comfortable playing games with the score in the 80’s and struggle with the offensive fire power to keep up at that kind of pace. In order for the Panthers to win this game the score will likely need to be in the 60’s. The second key to this game for the Panthers is defense and defensive rebounding. Stopping this offense is going to be difficult enough to do once per possession. It is essential that the Panthers limit the Grizzles to one shot per possession.
If the Panthers get in situations where they have to try stopping Oakland multiple time it is going to make it very difficult for the Panthers to win this game. The last key for the Panthers to win this game is value the ball and limit turnovers. In the last two home games the Panthers have averaged nine turnovers per game. In contrast, the Panthers had 28 turnovers in their previous two home games. The Panthers have a 4-1 record this season when they have under ten turnovers. If the Panthers are able to limit turnovers it will help their cause defensively as it will not expose them to as many transition defense situations but rather will allow them to play more half court defense against the Grizzles attack.

One Comment

  1. Boyee

    February 10, 2015 at 3:01 am

    The Horizon League desperately need at least a 10th school to hopefully prevent any members from leaving. Any school in the conference footprint or in an adjacent state would work. Robert Morris University (PA), IUPUI, IPFW, UMKC, University of Southern Illinois Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University or go to 12 schools and add any 3 or expand with Belmont University (current Horizon League men’s soccer affiliate), Lipscomb University (Belmont’s cross-town rival) and Western Kentucky University. The Horizon League recently lost Butler University (currently in Big East Conference) and Loyola University Chicago (currently in Missouri Valley Conference) and only added Oakland University (Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills, MI).

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