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Around the Horizon League: Weeks 2 and 3

November 29, 2011 Conference Notes No Comments
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Butler Bulldogs (4-3): Butler’s 3-3 start to the season is a bit deceiving, as two of their losses have been to teams from major conferences. The Bulldogs lost to the Louisville Cardinals by a score of 69-53 in a game in which the Bulldogs actually led in the second half. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, a very poor shooting night led to their downfall. The Bulldogs rebounded with a 57-42 victory over Savannah State and a 68-66 victory over Gardner-Webb. On Sunday, the Bulldogs dropped a 75-59 decision to the Indiana Hoosiers in which bad shooting yet again led to their downfall. The Bulldogs continued their up-and-down season with a 98-53 victory over Oakland City at home. On Saturday, the Bulldogs will take the court in their first Horizon League conference matchup at home against Valparaiso.

Cleveland State Vikings (6-1): The Vikings used a last-second shot by senior guard Trevon Harmon to defeat the St. Bonaventure Bonnies by a score of 67-64 in a very physical and hard-fought game. After this game, the Vikings headed off on a long series of road match ups. The Vikings began with a contest against the Kent State Golden Flashes, an in-state foe. The Vikings defeated the Golden Flashes, one of the best teams in the MAC, by a score of 57-53. The Vikings then headed east to Rhode Island to play three games in the Ticket City Legends Classic. Cleveland State began by defeating Boston University by a score of 63-62 in a game in which the Vikings came back from a 10-point deficit in the second half. The next day, the Vikings lost their first game of the season against the Hofstra Pride by a score of 63-53. On Sunday, the Vikings rebounded to defeat the Rhode Island Rams by a score of 67-45. The Vikings will have three days off before their first Horizon League match up on the road against the Wright State Raiders on Thursday.

Detroit Titans (3-4): This season is quickly becoming a nightmare season for the Titans, who began the season with hopes of knocking the Butler Bulldogs from their perch atop the Horizon League. At this point, the Titans do not have enough active scholarship players to conduct a 5-on-5 scrimmage during practice. Eli Holman remains on a leave of absence as he deals with an assault charge incurred at a fraternity house, and no updates have been given on his status. Senior forward Nick Minnerath recently suffered a season-ending ACL injury. John Hoskins left the team and guards Chris Blake and Brandon Romain are academically ineligible for the fall semester. Although the Titans were able to wallop Concordia (Mich.) by a score of 113-68, the Titans proceeded to lose two of their next three games in the CBE Classic in Bowling Green, Ohio. The Titans lost to the George Washington Colonials in the first game. In the second game, the Titans lost 67-61 to the Bowling Green Falcons. The Titans eked out a narrow overtime victory against Austin Peay in the final game by a score of 94-93. Playing their fourth straight game in Ohio this past Friday, the Titans lost 81-63 to a talented Akron Zips team. The Titans will return to action Thursday night in their first Horizon League match up against the Youngstown State Penguins.

Green Bay Phoenix (2-4): The Phoenix won a home game against Wyoming by the score of 52-44. The Phoenix then took their talents to Indiana to play Indiana State. Despite the offensive struggles of standout center Alec Brown, the bench helped the Phoenix stay in the game. However, the Phoenix eventually lost in the final seconds to the Sycamores by the score of 57-56 on a late 3-pointer. The Phoenix suffered another loss two days later on the road to the Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 68-42. On Thursday, the Phoenix will begin Horizon League play with a match up at home against the UIC Flames.

Loyola Ramblers (1-4): Despite having three players score in double figures, the Ramblers lost 63-51 on the road at Furman. Rookie head coach Porter Moser finally secured his first win as Loyola’s head coach with a 64-50 victory over Fordham in the Ramblers’ first game in renovated Gentile Arena. The Ramblers begin Horizon League play on Thursday with a road match up against the Milwaukee Panthers.

Milwaukee Panthers (5-1): The Panthers continued their strong start to the reason, which is impressive in light of the fact that star player Tony Meier has not played at all this season as a result of a lingering calf injury. After two impressive home victories over IUPUI and Texas Southern, the Panthers traveled to Michigan State for a road match up against the Spartans. Although the game was close at halftime, the Spartans pulled away in the second half for a 68-55 victory. The Panthers rebounded by defeating Arkansas-Little Rock by a score of 59-54. Kaylon Williams currently leads the Horizon League with an average of 6.0 assists per game. On Thursday, the Panthers will begin Horizon League play with a home match up against the Loyola Ramblers.

UIC Flames (2-3): The Flames dropped a 65-61 decision to Division II Quincy University but followed up with a 79-75 victory over Evansville. The Flames then lost to the Toledo Rockets by a score of 82-67 in a game in which a furious second-half comeback attempt could not overcome a large first-half deficit. The Flames will return to action on Thursday in their Horizon League opener on the road against the Green Bay Phoenix.

Valparaiso Crusaders (5-2): The Crusaders continued their impressive start to the season with three wins in the 2K Sports Classic. Their first victory was a 62-59 triumph over the talented Akron Zips. The next day, the Crusaders pounded IU Kokomo by a score of 79-48. Playing their third game in three days, the Crusaders defeated the Duquesne Dukes by a score of 84-68. After a four-day layoff, the Crusaders traveled to Columbus to play the nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Although the Crusaders were only down by four points at halftime, the Buckeyes’ impressive shooting and the Crusaders’ abysmal shooting combined to produce a lopsided second half that resulted in an 80-47 victory for the Buckeyes. Ryan Broekhoff is currently tied for the Horizon League lead in rebounding with 9.3 points per game. The Crusaders will open Horizon League play with a match up against Butler on Saturday.

Wright State Raiders (2-4): The Raiders’ inexperience caught up to them during the second week of the season, as the Raiders dropped three straight games. The Raiders dropped a 78-65 decision to the Florida Gators. Two days later, the Raiders lost to North Florida by a score of 69-52. The friendly confines of the Nutter Center did not help the Raiders as they lost a close game to the Charlotte 49ers by a score of 70-66. The Raiders’ schedule will not get any easier as they begin Horizon League play on Thursday with a tough home matchup against the Cleveland State Vikings.

Youngstown State Penguins (4-1): The Penguins have continued their turnaround from last season’s disappointing campaign. Sophomore Kendrick Perry currently leads the Horizon League in scoring with 18.2 points per game and the team as a whole is dramatically improved. After a hard-fought defensive struggle against UC Riverside that ended in a 53-49 overtime victory, the Penguins headed to State College to face the Penn State Nittany Lions. Despite once again making a school-record 14 3-pointers, the Penguins fell behind early and lost to the Nittany Lions by a score of 82-71. The Penguins battled yet another Pennsylvania foe three days later when they battled the St. Francis Red Storm on the road. This time, the Penguins came away victorious by a score of 60-59 when senior DuShawn Brooks blocked a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer. The Penguins will travel to Detroit in their Horizon League opener to battle the Titans on Thursday.

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