GAME NOTES: FLAMES VS. 'BIRDS
Posted Friday, December 10 at 10:30 a.m.
The UIC men's basketball team will begin a stretch of three-consecutive games against in-state non-conference foes Saturday, when the Flames travel to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State.
"ON CAMPUS" WITH THE FLAMES
Posted Friday, December 10 at 10:25 a.m.
"NCAA On Campus," a monthly show featuring NCAA student-athletes and competitions, was on the UIC campus Thursday, documenting a story surrounding the men's basketball team. Do you think we're going to reveal what the story was? Come now, not a chance! We'll keep you posted on when the piece airs -- as of now, it is slated to debut on the NCAA website (NCAA.org) the week of December 20.
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE REDBIRDS
Posted Wednesday, December 8 at 3:23 p.m.
UIC was back at practice Tuesday, in preparation for its third road game of the season, Saturday night (7:05 p.m.) at Illinois State. Below are some pre-game notables. In the meantime, you can track the Redbirds tonight, when ISU takes on defending Mid-American Conference champion Ohio. CLICK HERE for Gametracker.
BREAKING DOWN THE AKRON GAME
There were a combined five ties and lead changes in the game, with UIC holding its largest lead of 13 (40-27) with 17:02 remaining in the game ... The Flames out-rebounded the Zips 41-34, and scored 24 points in the paint ... For the second-consecutive game, the Flames converted just one three-pointer, and attempted only seven threes ... UIC held the Zips to a season-low 37.9 percent shooting effort ... The Flames committed 17 turnovers, and forced Akron into 14 mishaps ... UIC out-scored Akron 32-20 in the first half, but was out-scored in the second stanza, 34-20 ... Senior forward Robo Kreps (14 points) led the Flames in scoring for the fifth time this season, and Paul Carter's nine rebounds paced UIC for the fifth time ... Coming off the bench for the first time this season, junior center Darrin Williams scored a season-high 12 points on a 5-of-6 effort from the field.
QUOTING COACH MOORE: "Our guys came out with a sense of urgency, trying to get a little bit of redemption from Thursday's game (68-66 overtime loss against Valparaiso). We built a double-digit halftime lead again, and in the locker room, we talked about not letting our lead or intensity slip. In the second half, we lost some opportunities offensively, and we didn't execute the way we did in the first half. We allowed Akron to disrupt us, and get us out of our flow."
The Flames and Redbirds will be playing on the hardwood for the fifth-consecutive season. Illinois State holds a 13-7 all-time series lead, and has won four-straight in the series. UIC's last win over ISU was at Redbird Arena on Nov. 30, 2004. In last season's meeting at the UIC Pavilion (11/23/09), the Flames rallied from an eight-point deficit with 2:30 remaining, and had a chance to tie the game, but Robo Kreps' final shot came up short as the Redbirds came away with a 69-65 win.
Zavion Neely led the Flames with 17 points, followed by 15 points apiece from Jeremy Buttell and Kreps. The Redbirds were led by Osiris Eldridge's 19 points -- he was joined in double figures by Dinma Odiakosa (15) and Alex Rubin (15). Illinois State held a six-point (34-28) halftime lead, and scored 21 points off UIC's 14 turnovers.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior guard Robo Kreps passed both Nate Chambers (1984-88) and Armond Williams (2001-05) on UIC's all-time scoring list last week. Kreps enters Saturday's game at Illinois State (slated to be his 70th career start) with 1,248 career points; he is just 41 points away from tying John Ellis (1981-84) for 11th on the all-time list, and is only 52 tallies away from becoming the 11th player in UIC history to score 1,300 or more career points.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
UIC has out-rebounded five-of-its nine opponents this season, and in those contests, has done so in convincing fashion, by an average of 14.2 boards per game. The Flames, who have out-rebounded three-straight foes, are 3-2 when recording a rebounding advantage over its opponent this season.
Senior forward Paul Carter has been the catalyst for the Flames' success on the boards this season. The Horizon League's third-leading rebounder (8.0 rpg), Carter has two double-digit rebounding outputs, and corralled nine rebounds on three other occasions. Carter's 5.6 defensive rebounds per game currently rank second in the Horizon League.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
As mentioned, UIC enters Saturday's game against the Redbirds ranked third in the Horizon League in assists per game (14.2). While senior guard Robo Kreps has dished out a team-high 33 assists, he has also had a little help from his friends. Paul Carter (23), Zavion Neely (20) and Brad Birton (20) have each dished out 20 or more helpers through the first nine games of the season.
`Z' BREAKING FREE
Junior guard Zavion Neely, who has been called upon to be a lock-down perimeter defender early on this season, has shown flashes of his offensive ability that produced 12.2 points per game last season, one of the top-20 marks in the Horizon League. Over the last four games, Neely has been the Flames' top scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game -- that stretch includes three double-digit scoring outputs, including a season-high 22 points on a career-best three three-pointers against Toledo (11/28/10).
POINTS IN THE PAINT
UIC has scored 238 points in the paint this season, nearly 42 percent of its entire offensive output (538 total points). In the past two games against Valparaiso (12/2/10) and Akron (12/4/10), the Flames combined to score 64 points in the paint, accounting for almost 55 percent of the 118 total points UIC scored in those contests.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES
In each of the last five games, UIC's defensive field goal percentage has improved, decreasing from a 50 percent mark following the College of Charleston game (11/20/10), to a 45.8 percent mark following last Saturday's game against Akron. In the past two games, both two-point losses, the Flames held their opponents (Valpo and Akron) to a combined 40.4 percent field goal mark, including a 19 percent clip from three-point range.
ALUMNI, KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED!
Posted Wednesday, December 8 at 3:16 p.m.
In the latest edition of "UIC Alumni," the official magazine for alumns of the University of Illinois Chicago, eight full-color pages are dedicated to the Flames basketball programs. Included is a Q&A with head coach Howard Moore, a feature story on the women's basketball team and much more ... pick up one up, or wait for the magazine to arrive in the mail!
TRIB'S SHANNON RYAN FEATURES FLAMES
Posted Wednesday, December 8 at 2:40 p.m.
Shannon Ryan from the Chicago Tribune caught up with head coach Howard Moore over the weekend, and provided this feature. Said Moore: "They're (the players) playing winning basketball for us. The next step is to play winning basketball all the time."
FLAMES, REDBIRDS ON COMCAST SPORTSNET
Posted Monday, December 6 at 9:48 a.m.
The UIC men's basketball team will play its third television game of the season Saturday, when the Flames travel to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State. The non-conference game will be carried live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago beginning at 7:05 p.m. Stay tuned to UICFlames.com and "Flame Throwers" this week for all of your pre-game coverage.
Anthony Kelley FEATURED IN BEACON NEWS/SUN-TIMES
Posted Monday, December 6 at 9:44 a.m.
Christine Bolin of the Aurora Beacon News caught up with sophomore guard Anthony Kelley after last Thursday's game against Valparaiso, and filed this story. Bolin was working the local angle, also interviewing Valpo's Jay Harris, who hails from Oswego.
MOORE PRESENTED PRESTIGOUS AWARD
Posted Saturday, December 4 at 10:43 p.m.
UIC head men's basketball coach Howard Moore is the 2010 recipient of the Ricky Byrdsong Award, the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative (IFI) announced earlier this week. Moore accepted the award at the Union League Club of Chicago on Thursday afternoon.
Created in 2000 and named after former Northwestern head coach Ricky Byrdsong, the award annually recognizes men who are good fathers, have reached out and made a difference in the lives of youth and have demonstrated a spiritual dimension to their lives.