Panthers welcome NKU to the Horizon League

A quick turn of the page should be just what the doctor ordered for the Milwaukee Panthers following Saturday’s tough overtime loss to Wright State. They will be afforded said opportunity Monday night at Panther Arena when Horizon League newcomer Northern Kentucky pays a visit.
The Norse are led by Jalen Billups, who poses a challenge for the Panthers front court players. He is the Norse leading scorer, averaging 14.2 points per game. Billups will not venture far from the basket but he has the ability to take control down low. His low post talent is illustrated by the fact that he has one of the highest field goal percentages in the country this season at 66%. He also is averaging 1.65 points per field goal attempt. So that shows he take most of his shots that would be classified as high percentage.
Outside of Billups, the Norse get the majority of their offense from their backcourt. Cole Murray is a dangerous three-point shooter at almost 42% on three point attempts this season. The Panthers need to not let him get confidence in his point shoot early in the game. Tyler White is another guard who wants to shoot three-pointers shooting over five per game on average. White is also the team leader in assists averaging four per game. As a team the Norse make seven three-pointers per game. White and Murray account for nearly half of those made three pointers on a per game average. After digging a big hole Saturday with poor perimeter defense, the Panthers need to guard the outside like their lives depend on it.
A key to this game for the Panthers is hitting the glass on both ends. Northern Kentucky has out-rebounded five of their last seven opponents including Green Bay in their inaugural conference game on Saturday. The Norse had more offensive and total rebounds in that game than Green Bay. When they take Billups out of the game, they will insert freshman Drew McDonald. He is fills the role of post scorer when Billups is out. McDonald has seen his stats rise steadily with each game culminating in his first collegiate double-double on Saturday with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Taking care of the glass is big for the Panthers on Monday night.
The Panthers need to open this game in a similar fashion to the second half on Saturday against Wright State. The Norse are struggling to find their footing, having just changed conferences from the Atlantic Sun. Their overall record is 4-8. They have not won on the road yet this season and they spent the majority of Saturday’s game down double digits. The focus needs to be on attacking the basket for the Panthers. That is the recipe that got the Panthers back into the game Saturday, but it should be central to their game plan tonight to get Billups and McDonald off the floor. Take care of that and the Panthers should even up their conference record before hitting the road Thursday at Youngstown State.

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