The 3rd Man In

Panthers look to open league play 2-0

Cleveland State Vikings (8-7, 0-1) vs. Milwaukee Panthers (11-4, 1-0)
Location: U.S. Cellular Arena – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Time: 7:00 p.m. CST
Broadcast: TV: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel & HLN; Radio: WISN-AM1130

Most people did not expect the Milwaukee Panthers to make much noise this season in the Horizon League, but with 10 nonconference wins people are starting to take notice. The Panthers opened conference play with a victory over Youngstown State, and on Saturday they will try to start the conference year 2-0 as they face the Cleveland State Vikings.

Milwaukee leads the all-time series against Cleveland State, holding a 23-17 advantage. The Vikings have also struggled in Milwaukee with a 6-14 record all-time. Last season these teams split the two games, each winning on their home floor.

Although the Vikings record may not look to impressive, almost all of their losses were close besides their loss by double digits to Eastern Michigan. Cleveland State did play well against Kentucky as they held the lead at halftime, but ended up running out of gas, losing by seven.

In their first conference game of the season against Green Bay they lost a heart breaker on the road. They held a 29-23 lead at halftime, but scored a season low 55 points, losing to the Phoenix by 11.

Cleveland State has five different players averaging double figures, but sophomore guard Bryn Forbes is their top offensive threat. He is averaging 16.9 points per game, while making 45 percent of his shots including 44 percent from behind the arc.

Joining Forbes in the starting lineup for the Vikings is guards Trey Lewis and Charlie Lee, and forwards Marlin Mason and Anton Grady.

Milwaukee will counter with their usual and highly successful lineup featuring guards Steve McWhorter and Jordan Aaron, and forwards Austin Arians, Matt Tiby and Kyle Kelm.

The Vikings were predicted to finish third in the Horizon League, but they are a beatable team. Milwaukee needs to play smart fundamental basketball, while attacking down low offensively if they want to have an opportunity at winning this conference game.

*Students from Rossman and Lincoln Elementary Schools in Hartford will be recognized at tonight’s game for their excellent work in the classroom through the Milwaukee Panthers Rising Stars program.

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