Jan. 4, 2012
► UIC will look to capture its second Horizon League win Thursday, when the Flames take on Cleveland State at the Wolstein Center beginning at 6 p.m. CST. The Flames are coming off last Saturday's 74-70 overtime loss to Wright State, while Cleveland State dropped a 73-67 decision versus Youngstown State.
► UIC's two road setbacks in Horizon League play (at Green Bay, at Milwaukee) have been decided by a combined five points, including a 73-71 overtime loss at Milwaukee on Dec. 3.
► Heading into the Flames' road tilt at Central Michigan (12/13/11), UIC had no players averaging double figures in scoring. As the Flames enter their second Horizon League road swing this week, junior guard Daniel Barnes (11.9 ppg), junior point guard Gary Talton (11.1) and senior center Darrin Williams (10.8) are all scoring in double digits.
► UIC's last regular season Horizon League road win was on Feb. 27, 2009, against Loyola in the 2008-09 regular season finale. Since then, the Flames have dropped 20-consecutive regular season Horizon League road decisions. UIC's last road win over a Horizon League foe was on March 3, 2009, when the Flames defeated host Youngstown State (73-68) in the first-round of the Horizon League Tournament.
► NEXT UP: UIC will travel to the Beeghly Center to take on Youngstown State on Saturday (Jan. 7) beginning at 6:05 p.m. CST. The Penguins, who are 2-1 in Horizon League play, will host winless Loyola (0-4) Thursday night.
UIC: Howard Moore (Wisconsin, `95) is in his second season as the head coach at UIC. He spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping the Badgers to five-straight NCAA tournament berths. Moore, 38, also served assistant coaching stints at Loyola (2004-05), Ball State
(2003-04) and Bradley (1999-2003). Moore picked up his 12th head coaching win against Detroit on Dec. 29.
Cleveland State: Gary Waters is in his sixth season as the head coach at Cleveland State. The Vikings have achieved three 20-win seasons under Waters' tutelage, including 27 wins last year, tied for the second most in school history. Waters, who is in his 16th season as a head coach, also served stints at Rutgers (2001-06) and Kent State (1996-2001).
ABOUT CLEVELAND STATE
» Cleveland State, which has won seven-of its last nine games, was picked to finish third in the preseason Horizon League poll.
» The Vikings have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by D'Aundray Brown's 12.9 points per game. Trevon Harmon has added 10.9 points per contest, while Chicago native Jeremy Montgomery is scoring 10.1 points per game. Brown is CSU's leading rebounder (5.3 rpg), while Montgomery has dished out a team-high 43 assists on the season.
» The Vikings lead the Horizon League in scoring margin (+5.4), turnover margin (+4.7), steals per game (9.3) and free throw percentage (.734), and rank second overall in scoring defense, allowing just 58.8 points per game.
» The Vikings are 4-1 at the Wolstein Center this season, suffering their lone home loss last Saturday against visiting Youngstown State.
UIC VS. WRIGHT STATE POSTGAME NOTEBOOK
UIC shot a season-best 82.1 percent (23-28) from the free throw line, and started out the game 15-for-15 from the charity stripe ... The Flames scored 70 points for the second time during Horizon League play ... UIC dropped to 0-2 in overtime games ... UIC held Wright State to just a 39.7 percent effort from the field, the Flames' second-straight game limiting their opponent to less than 40 percent shooting ... For the sixth time in the past seven contests, UIC saw three of its starters (Darrin Williams; career-high 22 points, Gary Talton; 21, and Marc Brown; 12) score in double figures ... Wright State out-rebounded the Flames, 37-34 ... UIC led 27-24 at halftime, while Wright State held a 34-31 advantage in the second half, and out-scored the Flames in overtime, 16-12 ... UIC's largest lead was a six-point (27-21) margin, with 21 seconds remaining in the opening half ... Wright State's largest lead was eight points (15-7) with 13:05 left in the first half ... There were a combined 25 ties and lead changes in the game.
Cleveland State leads the all-time series between the Flames and Vikings 37-32. Overall, CSU has captured eight-straight victories over UIC, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. The series began in the 1981-82 campaign, with Cleveland State winning both regular season meetings by a combined seven points. The Flames then rolled off five-straight wins, and also defeated the Vikings seven-consecutive times from 1996-99.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
With a win over Cleveland State, UIC would...
» Equal its entire Horizon League win output from the 2010-11 campaign, with 13 regular season League games remaining
» Snap an eight-game losing streak versus Cleveland State
» Record its first road win of the season, and pick up its first victory at the Wolstein Center since the 2006-07 campaign (12/27/06)
» Win its first regular season Horizon League road contest since Feb. 27, 2009
» Win its first game of the new calendar year for the first time since 2005 (1/3/05 at Youngstown State)
» Capture its first win against an opponent from the state of Ohio this season -- the Flames are 0-3 against Ohio foes, falling short against Toledo (11/26/11), Dayton (12/23/11) and Wright State (12/31/11).
DOWN TO THE WIRE...
UIC's men's basketball team has seen no shortage of nail biters this season, playing a total of eight games decided by five points or less. UIC is 3-5 in those contests, and had a chance to either tie or win the game with a last-second shot in road games at Green Bay (12/1/11), Milwaukee (12/3/11) and CMU (12/16/11). Additionally, the Flames have held second-half leads in seven-of their nine losses this season, and have come up short in two overtime decisions.
TALTON IN HORIZON LEAGUE GAMES
Junior point guard Gary Talton, a transfer from Mountain View Community College in Texas, hasn't taken long to get acclimated to Horizon League play. In each of UIC's four conference games, Talton has eclipsed his previous career-high in scoring (14 at Green Bay, 18 at Milwaukee, 21 vs. Detroit, Wright State). He enters Thursday's contest at Cleveland State averaging 18.5 points per game during Horizon League action.
Additionally, Talton is currently tied for eighth in the League in field goal percentage (.533), while ranking third in assists per game (4.3), fourth in free throw percentage (.864) and eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.538).
GONE IN 60 SECONDS
Senior center Darrin Williams is shooting a Horizon League second-best 60.0 percent from the field on the season. If that stat holds up at the end of the year, Williams would become the first player since Jermaine Dailey in 2007-08, and only the fifth in program history, to shoot at least 60 percent from the field in a single campaign. During Horizon League play, Williams is shooting at a 67.7 percent clip. Williams enters Thursday's game at Cleveland State with 288 career points, and 191 career rebounds.
UIC has held five opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting, including three-of its last four. The Flames have also limited eight opponents to less than a 30 percent effort from three-point range.
SHOOTING FROM DISTANCE
UIC is averaging 6.5 made three-point field goals per game this season, the third-best mark in the Horizon League. The Flames have converted at least five threes in 10 games, and their top-two three-point shooting performances (9 at Green Bay, 10 vs. Detroit) have taken place during Horizon League play. Junior guard Daniel Barnes ranks second in the League in three-point field goals made per game (2.3), while sophomore forward Hayden Humes is shooting 47.2 percent from three-point range, the third-best mark in the conference.
UIC IN THE HORIZON LEAGUE STATS
Entering Thursday's game at Cleveland State, UIC ranks second in the Horizon League (conference-only) in scoring offense (68.0 points per game), while sitting third in three-point field goal percentage (.382), three-point field goal defense (.254) and rebounding margin (+2.2). The Flames boast three-of the League's top-20 scorers in junior point guard Gary Talton (18.5 ppg; 2nd), senior center Darrin Williams (12.8 ppg; t-11th) and junior guard Daniel Barnes (11.3 ppg; 17th).