Windy City Rivalry: UIC visits Loyola Saturday

Jan. 21, 2011

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» The Flames will be looking to secure their first Horizon League win of the season, after dropping their seventh-straight decision at Green Bay (74-50) last Saturday.

» Senior guard Robo Kreps enters Saturday's game within reach of two significant career milestones. Kreps has 1,392 career points, just eight tallies short of 1,400, and also enters the contest with 197 career three-pointers. He is just three treys away from becoming the fifth player in program history to compile at least 200 career three-pointers.

» Senior forward Paul Carter posted his seventh double-double of the season at Green Bay (1/15/11), scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.

» UIC is the top-ranked offensive rebounding team in the Horizon League, averaging more than 14 offensive boards (14.1) per game. The Flames also rank second in the conference in rebounding margin (+3.4) in Horizon League play.

» With his 12 points and nine rebounds at Green Bay, senior forward Brad Birton eclipsed 200 points for his career (205). In Horizon League play, Birton is averaging 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and has recorded all four of his double-digit scoring outputs.

UIC will return home for the first time since Jan. 8 next Thursday (Jan. 27), when the Flames host Cleveland State at the UIC Pavilion beginning at 7 p.m. The game will be carried live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Cleveland State posted an 83-59 win over the Flames at the Wolstein Center on New Year's Day (1/1/11). Paul Carter posted his recorded his fourth double-double of the season and Robo Kreps moved into 10th place on the all-time scoring list, but host Cleveland State shot 53.6 percent in the second half en route to the wire-to-wire victory.

UIC: Howard Moore is in his first season as a college head coach. Moore, 37, comes to UIC after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, his alma mater, under head coach Bo Ryan.

Moore joined the Badgers staff in 2005 and helped lead them to the NCAA Tournament in each of his five seasons in Madison. The team advanced past the first round of the Big Dance in each of the last four seasons and produced a memorable Sweet 16 run in 2008.

With Moore on the bench, Wisconsin posted three of the top-five winningest seasons in school history, including an historic 2007-08 campaign that saw the Badgers win a school-record 31 games en route to Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

Under Ryan's tutelage Moore established himself as one of the top recruiters in the Big Ten by utilizing the Chicagoland area as a main pipeline for talent.

Loyola: Jim Whitesell, who also served as the head coach at Lewis University for 12 seasons, is in his seventh year at the helm of the Loyola basketball program.

In 21 seasons as a head coach, Whitesell has accumulated a 368-278 record, helping six of his teams reach the NCAA Tournament. He has produced a winning record in 14 of those 22 campaigns, five times winning at least 20 games.

UIC is 5-14 (0-7 Horizon) on the season, including a 1-8 record in true road games. The Flames, who will be playing their third-straight Horizon League road game, are coming off a 74-50 loss at Green Bay last Saturday.

Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 15.1 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 62 assists in his first full season running the point. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.7 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 8.1 caroms per contest, second-best in the Horizon League. Kreps currently ranks eighth in the conference in scoring, while Carter is ninth.

In Horizon League play, Carter ranks eighth in the conference in scoring (15.3 ppg) and second in rebounding, at 8.3 caroms per game. He is averaging 5.7 defensive rebounds per contest in UIC's seven Horizon League games.

UIC is averaging 62.9 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 69.1 points per contest. In Horizon League play, UIC leads the conference in offensive rebounds (14.0 rpg), while ranking second in overall rebounding margin (+3.9).

Loyola, who defeated Milwaukee on the road (71-65) last Saturday, is 11-8 on the season, including a 2-6 record in Horizon League play. The Ramblers are 5-3 at home this season, but are 0-4 inside the Joseph J. Gentile Center in Horizon League games.

Geoff McCammon is leading Loyola offensively, averaging a team-high 13.3 points per game -- Jordan Hicks (11.7 ppg), Ben Averkamp (11.6), Walt Gibler (11.0) and Terrance Hill (10.9) have joined McCammon in double figures.

Andy Polka is averaging a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game, leading a group of four Ramblers averaging at least four caroms per contest. In Horizon League play, Averkamp is scoring 11.9 points per game to lead Loyola's offensive output.

Loyola is allowing its opponents to score 64.8 points per game, the third-best mark in the Horizon League. The Ramblers also rank second in the conference in three-point field goal percentage (.366), and third overall in assists per game (13.1). In Horizon League play, Loyola ranks second in assist/turnover ratio (1.0).

Senior Paul Carter (11) tallied his 17th double-digit scoring effort of the season, and also recorded his fourth double-double (10 rebounds) during Horizon League play ... Senior forward Brad Birton chipped in a season-high 12 points and corralled nine rebounds ... Green Bay edged UIC on the boards (39-37), the first Horizon League team this season to out-rebound the Flames ... Junior forward Paris Carter corralled six rebounds, his fourth performance this season with six or more caroms ... After falling behind by 20 points (42-22) at halftime, UIC started out the second half on an 18-9 run, pulling within 51-40 with 12:22 remaining ... Green Bay quickly answered, stretching its lead back to 20 points (64-44) with 6:37 left ... The Flames were 0-12 from three-point range, while Green Bay was 8-for-20 ... UIC scored 38 points in the paint, the most since scoring 40 points inside against Valparaiso (12/2/10) ... The Flames also out-scored the Phoenix 16-13 on second-chance points, but were out-scored off turnovers (21-12), and through the fast break (14-0) and bench (14-13).

Senior forward Paul Carter leads the Flames with seven double-doubles on the season, including four in Horizon League play ... Carter has tallied double dips against the College of Charleston (11/20/10), Toledo (11/28/10), Illinois State (12/11/10), Cleveland State (1/1/11), Wright State (1/6/11), Detroit (1/8/11) and Green Bay (1/15/11).

First-year head coach Howard Moore is no stranger to the Horizon League, or college basketball in the state of Illinois and the Windy City. Including his current post at UIC, Moore has served on the staff at three Division I institutions in Illinois, including a short stint as an assistant coach (2004-05) on Jim Whitesell's staff at Loyola. In his brief tenure in Rogers Park, Moore helped the Ramblers win six of their final seven contests and advance all the way to the Horizon League semifinals. Moore handled off-campus recruiting duties and worked primarily with Loyola's post players in the turnaround season.

UIC leads the all-time series against rival Loyola, 29-15, and has been on the winning end in seven-of the last 10 meetings, dating back to the 2006-07 campaign.

Loyola won the first three meetings (1985-88) between the two programs, before UIC took control, winning 12-of the next 14 contests. There have been a total of five overtime games in the series, and 14 contests have been decided by five points or less.

Loyola swept the regular season series last year, recording a 55-50 win at the UIC Pavilion (1/15/10), and defeating the Flames 80-63 at the Gentile Center on Feb. 13.

UIC enters Saturday's game with an 0-7 record, the only team in the conference yet to record a victory. But the Flames haven't been far off in their losses - three of those setbacks have been one-possession games. In fact, four-of UIC's losses this season have come by just two points -- the Flames are 2-5 in games decided by five points or less.

Senior guard Robo Kreps enters Saturday's game against rival Loyola within reach of two significant career milestones. Kreps has 1,392 career points, just eight tallies short of 1,400, and also enters the contest with 197 career three-pointers. He is just three treys away from becoming the fifth player in program history to compile at least 200 career three-pointers.

Senior forward Brad Birton, who is averaging 4.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in his 18 games played this season, has seen his production nearly double since the outset of the Horizon League schedule. In conference play, Birton has posted all four of his double-digit scoring outputs, and two-of his top five rebounding efforts. Overall, Birton is averaging 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on a 60 percent effort from the field in Horizon League games.

UIC enters Saturday's contest as the Horizon League's top offensive rebounding team (in conference games), averaging 14.0 offensive boards per game. It has been a collective effort on the glass, with Brad Birton (3.2 rpg; 2nd), Paul Carter (2.6 rpg; t-6th) and Paris Carter (2.4 rpg; 8th) all ranking in the top-10 of the league in offensive rebounds during Horizon League play.

As mentioned, UIC has out-rebounded 12-of its 19 opponents this season, including seven of the last eight, and all six-of-seven Horizon League foes.

Senior forward Paul Carter has been the overwhelming catalyst for the Flames' success on the boards this season. The Horizon League's second-leading rebounder (8.0 rpg), Carter has led the Flames in rebounding 11 times, and also grabbed nine or more caroms on 10 occasions.

UIC's improved defensive effort has had a direct result on its won-loss fate as the Flames transition into Horizon League play. The magic defensive number could very well be 70: When the Flames allow their opponent to score 70 or more points, they are 0-10 on the season.

First-year head coach Howard Moore and the UIC men's basketball program received some great news in late September, when Minnesota transfer Paul Carter was granted a legislative relief waiver by the NCAA, allowing him immediate eligibility at UIC for his senior season.

Carter served as Minnesota's Sixth Man the past two seasons, helping the Golden Gophers reach a pair of NCAA Tournaments.

Carter transferred to UIC with one year of eligibility remaining to be near his sister, Bria, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, last winter. Since Carter joined the Flames, Bria has completed chemotherapy, received a temporary prosthetic leg after amputation, and started her high school career at King High School in Chicago this semester.