Jan. 11, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-11, 0-2) journeys to Wright State (10-8, 2-1) this weekend for a Sunday night contest, beginning at 6 p.m. CT. The Flames are in search of their first Horizon League win as the Raiders look to continue their winning ways after downing Valparaiso by a final of 62-45 this past Friday. The all-time series between the two programs is tied at 23-23 with UIC winning the previous two match ups last season. Sunday’s game will be aired live on ESPN3 and the Horizon League Network with audio coverage available on ESPN Chicago 1000.
Last Time Out
The Flames dropped a league contest at home this past Tuesday night against Youngstown State by a final score of 75-62. UIC lead by as much as six points in the first half, but a 17-2 YSU run early the second period proved to be the difference maker. The Flames would come within seven points on two separate occasions in the final seven minutes, but consecutive threes by the Penguins iced the result. Senior Kelsey Barlow paced UIC with 17 points as he was joined in double figures by junior Marc Brown with 14. The Flames grabbed 10 more rebounds than YSU, but couldn’t match the Penguin’s 58.3 percent field goal shooting mark.
Scouting the Raiders
Wright State enters Sunday’s showdown with an overall record of 10-8 and a Horizon League mark of 2-1. The Raiders won its most recent outing at Valparaiso on Friday night by a final of 62-45 spurred by a 37-22 first half advantage. WSU implements a balanced offensive scoring attack with eight players averaging more than six points per game led by senior forward AJ Pacher who posts 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. Wright State also displays a stellar defense that holds opposing teams to 61.5 points per game, which ranks 27th in the nation and owns the NCAA’s 15th-best total steals figure (138).
A League of his Own
Senior Kelsey Barlow is having one of the best performances in the Horizon League this season as he paces UIC in nearly all statistical categories. Barlow is the lone player in the conference to average 16 points, four rebounds and four assists or more per game. His 38 points against Wagner on Nov. 27 is the second-highest single-game point total in the Horizon League this season and the most by a UIC player since Feb. of 2005. For his near triple-double performance against SEMO (21 pts, 12 rebs, eight asts.), Barlow was named the Horizon Player of the Week on Dec.16, his first career weekly conference accolade.
Humes Nearing Multiple Milestones
Senior Hayden Humes is on the verge of eclipsing several milestones during his final season as a college basketball player. Humes needs just five more points to reach 900 for his career, which includes one year at Toledo (183) and three seasons with UIC (712). The 6-foot-8 sharp-shooter also needs just four more treys to crack UIC’s top 10 career made threes list as he currently owns 112. If the season ended today, Humes’ career three-point shooting percentage of 40.4% would rank sixth on UIC’s all-time leaderboard.
Breakthrough Performer of the Year
Junior Marc Brown is having one of the best breakout seasons in the Horizon League this year as he has upped his scoring average by 7.1 points per game. That increase ranks fifth among all returning Horizon League players behind Detroit’s Juwan Howard Jr. (9.2 ppg), YSU’s Ryan Weber (8.4 ppg), Milwaukee’s Kyle Kelm (7.9 ppg) and Detroit’s Anton Wilson (7.5 ppg). Brown began the 2013-14 campaign with three straight 20-point efforts, becoming the first Flame to post a trio of 20-point games since Robo Kreps did it in the 2010-11 season. He currently ranks 15th in the Horizon League in scoring and second on the team.
Top of His Class
Pat Birt stands as one of the top Horizon League players in this year’s freshmen class and has become a fixture in UIC’s lineup, starting the past seven games. Birt is the third-highest scoring freshman in the conference, averaging 6.1 points per game and was honored by the league office on Dec. 30 as the Horizon League Freshman of the Week for his performances against Colorado State and Illinois. Birt also holds UIC’s longest made free throw streak this season which currently sits at 14 straight.
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 56-of-90 (62.2%) from the floor, which ranks second among all Horizon League players. Harks has performed even better as of late, connecting on 26 of his last 36 shot attempts throughout the past six games. If the season ended today, Harks’ 62.2 shooting percentage would rank third all-time in UIC’s single season records book.
Barlow’s 30 for 30
Senior Kelsey Barlow recorded back-to-back 30 point performances earlier this season with 38 versus Wagner (Nov. 27) and 31 against SMU (Dec. 4). Barlow stands as just the third player in program history to achieve consecutive 30-point games and the first since former NBA first-round draft choice Sherell Ford did it in Feb. of 1995. The other Flame to do so is UIC’s second all-time leading scorer and the Flames’ radio analyst Kenny Williams.
Wiegand Over The Middle
At 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, sophomore Jake Wiegand has the physical dimensions of an NFL tight end, but he also happens to be pretty good at basketball too. Wiegand has already doubled his rebounding total from last season and has nearly doubled his scoring numbers, while averaging 13 more minutes per game than 2012-13. The Herndon, Va., native is one of just 10 Horizon League players to average two or more offensive rebounds per contest as he grabbed a career-high six offensive boards in his last outing versus YSU.
Flames Filling it Up
UIC is averaging 70.3 points per game so far this season and if it holds throughout the year would serve as the program’s highest figure since 2002-03. One major factor for the increase is senior Kelsey Barlow who is averaging 16.7 points per outing and has 267 total points on the season. If Barlow continues his average through the season then he will rank 11th on UIC’s all-time single season scoring list, needing 517 points.