Jan. 18, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-13, 0-4) welcomes first-place Green Bay (14-3, 4-0) to the Pavilion on Sunday afternoon with tipoff scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. The Flames look to snap their seven-game losing streak as the Phoenix hope to stay atop the conference standings and continue their nine-game winning streak. Both programs won their respective home games last season against each other, but Green Bay claimed victory in the rubber match on March 8, 2013 in the quarterfinals of the Horizon League Tournament by a final on 64-63.
Last Time Out
The Flames let a 13-point halftime lead slip away on Thursday night at home against Milwaukee as the Panthers outscored UIC, 44-27, in the second half to claim the 67-63 win. Flames’ leading scorer Kelsey Barlow did not start after suffering a minor ankle injury in Wednesday’s practice, but did manage to play 26 minutes. Milwaukee forced 16 UIC turnovers and converted those miscues into 23 points. The Flames shot poorly in the second half (27.3%) after hitting 14-of-27 (51.9%) in the first period. Junior Marc Brown paced UIC with 18 points and was joined in double figures by Jake Wiegand and Jay Parker with career-highs of 14 and 12, respectively.
Scouting the Phoenix
Green Bay comes to UIC fresh off a 79-69 win at Wright State on Friday night, picking up its ninth straight win. With an overall record of 14-3 and an unblemished 4-0 mark in the Horizon League, the Phoenix rank No. 6 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll and 35th in the NCAA’s RPI. Green Bay is paced by junior Keifer Sykes who leads the HL in assists per game (5.4) and ranks second in scoring (20.4). Senior center Alec Brown serves as one of the nation’s top shot blockers with 57 swats on the season, while averaging 16.6 points per outing. Green Bay’s most recent lost was more than a month ago on Dec. 10, 2013 at Eastern Michigan. GB’s two other setback were against Virginia (75-72) and Wisconsin (69-66).
Flashback: HLTourney Heartbreaker
Sunday’s contest could be aptly characterized as a revenge game for UIC after Green Bay squeaked past the Flames in their most recent gathering in a quarterfinal matchup at the 2013 Horizon League Tournament. After a pair of made free throws by UIC, the Flames held a two-point lead with seven seconds remaining in the game. That’s when former-Green Bay guard Sultan Muhammad took a pass from teammate Keifer Sykes, set his feet, and drained the game-winning three with less than two seconds on the clock. UIC was knocked out of the championship, but the Flames continued postseason play in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and advanced to the second round.
Hayden Humes and the Order of the Phoenix
Senior Hayden Humes has played some of his best basketball when facing the Phoenix during his three years at UIC. In five games against Green Bay, Humes is averaging 13.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest (far above his career averages of 8.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg) with a shooting percentage of 59.6%. Humes has also proved clutch from behind the arc hitting 10 of his 18 three-point attempts. In last year’s HL tournament game, the Valparaiso, Ind., native set a career-high with 23 points and 10 made field goals on just 12 attempts. Humes sees little bench time in GB games, averaging 35.6 minutes per tilt.
First Half Dominance
Throughout the last five games, UIC has owned four halftime leads, including a 44-34 advantage against Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 28. UIC’s lone first-half deficit came against YSU after the Penguins hit a last-second three to go up, 37-36, before the break. In those five games, the Flames are out-scoring (183-152), out-rebounding (92-62) and out-shooting (52% to 44%) their opponents. UIC has also produced a three-point shooting percentage of 51% during the first half of the previous five games, compared to just 32% for their competition.
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, five 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 Eclipses 900; Eyes Top 10 Threes List
Senior Hayden Humes surpassed 900 career points in Thursday’s game versus Milwaukee, needing just two prior to the tip. Humes now owns 903 points in his four-year career, including 183 with Toledo and 720 with UIC. The 6-foot-8 sharp shooter also sits a mere two three-pointers short of cracking UIC’s all-time leaderboard, owning 114 treys as a Flame. Humes’ career three-point shooting percentage (39.6%) would rank ninth all-time in UIC history if the season ended today.
Career Night for Wiegand, Parker
Sophomore Jake Wiegand and junior Jay Parker set new career-highs against Milwaukee this past Thursday with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Parker doubled his previous career-best of six points as he led UIC in second-half scoring with 10 points. Wiegand had a solid second period as well, totaling eight of his 14 points in the final stanza. Wiegand also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, including four offensive caroms.
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 7.5 points per game compared to last year’s figure (5.7 to 13.2). That increase ranks third among all returning Horizon League players behind Detroit’s Juwan Howard Jr. (10.0 ppg) and YSU’s Ryan Weber (8.4 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 13th in the Horizon League in scoring (13.2 ppg) and second on the team.
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 59-of-93 (63.4%) from the floor, which ranks third among all Horizon League players. Harks has performed even better as of late, connecting on 29 of his last 39 shot attempts (74%) throughout the past eight games. If the season ended today, Harks’ 63.4 shooting percentage would rank second all-time in UIC’s single season records book behind Armond Williams (63.9% in 2002-03).
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.
Kelsey Barlow will be available to play on Sunday after a minor ankle injury during practice on Wednesday. Lance Whitaker underwent successful ACL surgery in late December and will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season.