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Horizon Notebook

January 29, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Horizon League Notebook

by Brian Seymour

No team in the Horizon League helped itself as much as Wisconsin-Milwaukee last week.

Not only did the Panthers manage to halt Butler’s winning ways and pull themselves within a game of the Bulldogs, but thanks to an upset over Illinois-Chicago by Detroit, UWM still controls its own destiny in the Horizon League.

Two early season losses had taken some of the shine off the preseason favorites for the league crowd, but a 69-65 win Thursday over Butler, which had been knocking on the door of the national polls, could propel the Panthers through the rest of their season.

UWM tore off a 8-0 run with the game tied at 54 to pull away from the Bulldogs and hand them only their second loss of the season. The game was the second-largest crowd at the Klotsche Center in Milwaukee and the first time UWM defeated Butler in Milwaukee since 1978. Incidentally, last season’s contest against Butler is the largest crowd in school history.

Including a weekend win over Wright State, UWM moved to 15-5 overall and 6-2 in the conference, one half game behind Butler’s 6-1 mark. The Bulldogs are 16-2 overall and bounced back with a 68-53 road victory over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Saturday.

UIC’s share of lead short lived

A record-breaking effort from Detroit’s Willie Green made UIC’s share of the league lead with Butler last very short indeed.

Green’s 43-point performance was a season-high for the league and a record for the UIC Pavilion. Green was 18-of-29 from the field to help the Titans 10-8, 5-4 snap a five-game winning streak for the Flames, who fell to 12-5, 6-2, one half game behind Butler. Terrell Riggs pitched in with a double-double performance of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Cedrick Banks scored 27 points for UIC, who will look to bounce back with a tough road contest against Wright State (7-10, 1-6) on Wednesday.

The win was very crucial for the hot-and-cold Titans, who climbed into fourth place by themselves. It was the third straight road win for the Titans, who have struggled at home this season. At one point last season, Detroit held the longest home winning streak in the country.

Statement game for Butler

National TV. Cameron Indoor Stadium. A chance for Butler to pretty much cement at least an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Should make for a pretty good game.

Butler gets a shot at a suddenly struggling No. 7 Duke Thursday in a 7 p.m. (EST) contest that will be televised on ESPN2. It certainly should be a lot closer a contest than many casual observers might expect. The Bulldogs’ seniors are 5-3 against teams from the Big 10, Pac 10, Big East and ACC.

The Bulldogs haven’t gotten much love from the pollsters despite a 16-2 mark, but that would certainly change if they can figure out a way to pull off what would be one of the biggest victories (and possibly the biggest regular-season victory) in school history.

Big performance for Loyola big men

Loyola Chicago helped itself to some “alphabet soup”, posting a 80-71 non-conference win over IPFW Saturday.

For the record, that’s Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne. Demetrius Williams and Paul McMillan combined for 46 points and 20 rebounds in the road win for the Ramblers, who needed a big performance after struggling at times this season to a 9-12 record and 4-4 in the Horizon.

Another big chance to prove themselves awaits on Saturday, when Loyola hosts a suddenly resurgent Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

     

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