Panthers head to the Kohl

On the heels of a season-opening victory over Penn, Wisconsin takes on Eastern Illinois in its home-opener

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What:  Eastern Illinois Panthers (0-1) at UW Badgers (1-0)

When:  Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003, 7:05 p.m.

Site:  Kohl Center Madison, WI

Broadcasts:  No TV broadcast, 43-city Wisconsin Radio Network

Series Notes: UW leads all-time series 4-1


The Badger men's basketball squad (1-0) is home this Thanksgiving week to play their first two home contests of the 2003-04 regular season. Opening up play at the Kohl Center on Tuesday, the Badgers will host the Panthers of Eastern Illinois in an effort to tally their sixth victory in six Kohl Center-openers.


Coach Bo Ryan's troops are coming off a solid, hard-fought victory over the Quakers of Penn on Friday in which they defeated the two-time defending Ivy League champions 64-53. After Penn pounced on the Badgers right out of the gates and went up 9-2, the Badgers put up a 22-6 run to help take a lead into halftime. After Penn fought back in the second half, the Badgers finished the game on 14-5 run to seal the win, thanks to the play of senior guard Freddie Owens and junior guard Devin Harris.


Harris led UW with 16 points on four-of-14 shooting from the field and hit the team's lone three-pointer, but his eight rebounds and two steals were what stood out in the win. Owens tallied 12 points on five-of-seven shooting, while junior forward Zach Morley also pitched in 12 off the bench. In all, it was the stingy defense and clutch shooting of Morley, Owens and Harris that carried UW in the non-conference bout.


After a sloppy, yet successful opening showing, Ryan's squad returns to the friendly confines of the Kohl Center to take on another unfamiliar foe in coach Rick Samuels' Panthers of the Ohio Valley conference.


Samuels, the winningest coach in EUI history and the Panthers are coming off a season-opening loss at Northern Illinois on Saturday in which they were defeated 83-76. Leading the way for the EIU was junior guard Derik Hollyfield and his 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Hollyfield was one of three players in the Panthers' lineup scoring in double figures, the others being senior forward/center Jesse Mackinson with 15 and redshirt freshman guard Cortez Forte and junior forward Andrew Gobczynski with 11 each.


This matchup will mark the first time the two schools have met since 1995 when the Badgers defeated the Panthers 105-70, the last time UW scored 100 points in a regular season game.



Three Keys to a UW victory:


1.                  Sixth Sense – Traditionally, UW likes to maintain a small rotation, cycling only six or seven guys into the game, but this year, with the addition of junior-college transfer Morley, the Badgers have added strong depth to their lineup. Morley, being the first off the bench, brings attitude and a spark for UW, already evident in their victory over Penn. A lot of the Badgers success can be placed on the shoulders of Harris, forward Mike Wilkinson, Owens and sophomore guard/forward Alando Tucker (when he returns), but right now Morley is the man that gives UW that extra strength to pull away late in the game.


2.                  Hitting the Boards – Out rebounding their opponent is going to have to be a key in every game for UW. Evident from a season ago, the Badgers control the game when they are controlling the glass, preventing second-chance opportunities for the opposition while still creating the same second and third shots for themselves. 


3.                  Passing the rock – Despite UW's victory over Penn, the Badgers tallied only nine assists to Penn's 14. To get past a pesky, athletic EIU squad, the badgers are going to have to do a better job distributing the ball, which should lead to higher percentage shots.


Three keys to victory for Eastern Illinois:


1.                  Shot selection – As important as it is for UW to pass the ball better and take better shots, so it is the same for the Panthers. After a horrendous 35.1 percent shooting day in their last contest, EUI will need to take better shots to come out victorious. Additionally, EUI will need to do much better than five-for-25 from behind the arc, as they were versus Northern Illinois, to be effective on the road Tuesday.


2.                  The main man – There are not many players that can single-handedly take over games in the Ohio Valley conference, let alone the entire NCAA, but EUI's Hollyfield is one of them. Although a streaky shooter, his slashing ability and quickness at times allows him to run circles around defenses.


3.                  Taking offense – Offensive rebounding is also a key to EUI's success. The Panthers grabbed 25 offensive rebounds in their opening-game loss, but this was the primary reason they were in the game at the end. For Eastern Illinois to hang with one of the Big Ten's best, they'll have to reproduce this strong performance and keep taking jabs at the UW defense.

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