Panthers look to rebound against Flames

With the way the Horizon League schedule is structured it is important for teams to be able to get points off their bench. Most games are played on a Thursday-Saturday or a Friday-Sunday format. That means two games in the span of under 48 hours, since games on the weekend tend to be earlier than on weeknights. The Milwaukee Panthers were not able to get any points from their bench in Thursday’s night’s loss to Valpo. The Milwaukee Panthers bench was outscored 23-0 Thursday night’s loss. The Panthers will look to reverse that statistic in wrapping up a four game road trip on Saturday against the University Illinois Chicago Flames. The Panthers will be attempting to wrap up a two week road stint with a 3-1 record.
The Flames are struggling once again this season. They have only two victories and are currently losers of five in a row. They will however be coming off their best conference performance of the season, a two-point loss on Thursday night against Green Bay. The Flames committed a foul in the final seconds to send the Phoenix to the line to win the game. Prior to Thursday night, the Flames were beaten by at least 15 points in all of their other previous conference games. The Flames are trying to find successful combinations as they have started a different starting line-up in 12 of their 15 games and only two of their starters have started all 15 games.
The Flames have a very young roster featuring eight underclassman. Those underclassman comprise over half the roster and have played over 66% of the team’s total minutes.  The most productive of the young group is Dikembe Dixson who leads the Flames in minutes played, points and rebounds. Dixson is the only player on the flames roster averaging in double figures scoring.
On the whole the Flames offense has been far from burning hot. They rank in the bottom of the conference in points, made field goals per game, field goal percentage, and made three-point field goal attempts, hitting under five from long range per game or 31% of their attempts. The Flames have been outscored by their opponents by an average of almost 11 points per game.
The Panthers have done a good job rebounding on the season but they took a significant step back in that area on Thursday night as they were out-rebounded by 25 while only getting four offensive rebounds off the Crusaders. The Panthers do still rank in the top half of the conference in rebounding and they need another good rebounding effort to take them over the Flames.
A final key to this game for the Panthers is high energy and intensity level to start this game for the Panthers. UIC played arguably their best game of the season in staying with Green Bay till the final buzzer. The Panthers need to bring energy and intensity along with their superior talent as a way of gauging what the Flames have in the tank. If they are able to mix those elements they should be able to conclude their first conference road swing with a three and one record.
Now, for your comedic enjoyment:


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