Monday, February 9, 2009

A Look Back...And a Look Ahead


A full slate of games on Saturday produced some exciting results. I'll start with the last game first as Green Bay defended its home court in front of 7,980 Phoenix fans at the Resch Center. First off, a big salute to the Green Bay faithful getting out on a Saturday night in full force. The 72-68 win looked all too familiar to some other Horizon League teams as Green Bay used its veteran grit and a good amount of free throws to win at home. Milwaukee didn't exactly execute to perfection in the last 35 seconds as coach Jeter had to call a timeout with the clock winding down. Jeter drew up a pick and roll with backside action, trying to get Tone Boyle a good look off a screen at the top of the key. Boyle got some contact but didn't get the whistle and the Phoenix 'escaped' and got some breathing room in second place, now two games up on Milwaukee.
Coach Jeter started James "Big Lumber " Eayrs for the first time all season and he didn't disappoint as he went for 22 and 9 but fouled out in the waning moments trying to grab a rebound. Anthony Hill only getting 7 minutes is a head-scratcher as well because Green Bay can be bodied down low.

Road trip note: We (Damon and I) will get another good look at Milwaukee as they face Cleveland State on the road this Thursday. As always, we'll be live blogging so spread the word. Big Lumber vs. J'Nathan Bullock is a heavyweight bout I'd pay to see.

Cleveland State has now won four in a row and they're on a crash course with Milwaukee for the third-place spot in the HL tournament. That is important because it would mean you would avoid the home team, and number 1 seed, in the tournament until the championship game. The Vikings scored 51 points in the second half and 83 total at Loyola while only going 2-7 from the three-point line.


Coach McCallum and the Titans picked up their second league victory on Saturday with a 56-55 "W" over Valparaiso. Consider me on the Ray McCallum bandwagon. The Titans play a tough, smart style that I believe is really going to translate to more wins next season when the talent level increases. They're not a good perimeter shooting team, so instead of banging their heads against a wall they shot three 3-pt. FGs Saturday. Chris Hayes has been the guy that has stepped up the past couple of weeks. The 6-9 senior is averaging 14.8 pts. and 6.5 rebs. in his last four games. Perhaps the most encouraging statistic from Saturday's game is that the offensively challenged Titans found a way to win with their leading scorer, junior Thomas Kennedy, going 1-8 from the field.

Penguin Power...?!

Youngstown State is now 5-8 in conference and showing some life. If they can maintain their position in the league standings they would host a first round league game. The Penguins 8 wins, with 6 games to play, gives them a chance to have a double-digit win total for just the second time in the last 8 years.

Butler Flexing its Muscle

Butler walked into a sold-out Nutter Center and dominated from the tip. It was really a sight to see. At one point in the first half, I believe the score was 19-2, Damon and I just looked at each other in disbelief. We both predicted a Raider victory and thought the game was going to be a back-and-forth battle. We couldn't have been more wrong. Driving through New Castle, IN on our way back to Indianapolis I think Zach Hahn (New Castle native) hit four more threes. Troy Tabler, Will Graham, and N'Gai Evans made as many shots as THESE GUYS. Green Bay is going to need some help from Cleveland State or Milwaukee to make up that last game in the league standings. This game could haunt Green Bay for a long time.

Road Trip Note Pt. II

Look out Horizon League, here we come! Damon and myself will be hitting the road this week because we just can't get enough of the Horizon League.

Tuesday: We will be at Loyola for their home game against Wright State (8pm ET / 7pm CT).

Thursday: Traveling to Cleveland for the Milwaukee @ Cleveland State game (7pm ET / 6pm CT).

Friday: Back to Indianapolis for UIC-Butler, Part II (7pm ET / 6pm CT).

Sunday: UIC @ Valpo (4pm ET / 3pm CT), be there or be square. WE WILL.

That's it. Four games in six days. Live blogging the entire time.

*If you live in any of these cities please let us know what we need to do, where we need to eat, and where all of you will be in preparation for all this basketball.

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