The Wright State Raiders are 40 minutes away from their fourth Horizon League championship game in six seasons, but to get there they will have to go through a team that swept them in the regular season.
Second-seeded WSU (23-9) will face No. 6 Milwaukee in the semifinials tonight at 9:30. The Panthers upset No. 3 UIC 80-75 Sunday night.
›› ARCHDEACON: Defensive-minded Raiders two wins from NCAA tournament
Milwaukee (16-16) beat the Raiders 66-61 at home Jan. 20, then the Panthers came into the Nutter Center on Feb. 10 and registered a 74-73 triumph .
Milwaukee led that second game by 17 with 8:02 remaining before Wright State rallied to within one and had the ball at the end of the game. But Grant Benzinger missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Panthers, who advanced to the HL championship game last year as the 10 seed, are 3-3 in their last six games, five of which were decided by five or fewer points.
They rank ninth in the league in scoring offense (68.2) and third in scoring defense (68.9).
Junior guard Jeremiah Bell, a second team all-league pick, leads Milwaukee in scoring at 13.9 points per game, while junior guard Brock Stull averages 13.4.
Stull scored a season-high 25 in Sunday’s win against UIC.
This will be the first time Milwaukee and Wright State have squared off in the Horizon League tournament since the Panthers won the 2014 championship game 69-63 at the Nutter Center.
No. 4 Oakland will face No. 8 Cleveland State in tonight’s first semifinal.
The championship game is 7 p.m. Tuesday.