Jan. 21, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-14, 0-5) concludes its three-game homestand on Wednesday night as they host Cleveland State (11-9, 3-3) at 7 p.m. CT. The Flames defeated CSU in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament last season, but the Vikings own the all-time series advantage by a margin of 39-35. UIC is still in search of its first conference win of the season, while CSU looks to bounce back after a three-point loss to Wright State at home last Sunday. Wednesday’s contest will be aired live on ESPN3 and the Horizon League Network.
Last Time Out
The Flames nearly snapped Green Bay’s nine-game win streak after leading the first-place Phoenix the majority of the second half at home on Sunday afternoon. Facing a four-point halftime deficit, UIC outscored Green Bay, 21-9, to start the second period and led by eight points with 13:03 left to play. The Flames weathered several Phoenix runs and still led 63-60 with just over four minutes remaining. At that point, GB executed a 9-1 run to close out the game, including seven points from junior guard Keifer Sykes. Freshman Pat Birt paced the Flames with 13 points, while senior Jordan Harks added 11.
Scouting the Vikings
Cleveland State enters the midweek matchup with an overall record of 11-9 and a Horizon League mark of 3-3. The Vikings won three of their last five outings, losing two conference games by a combined four points against Youngstown State and Wright State. Eighth-year head coach Gary Waters pilots a defensive-minded squad that holds opponents to 40.7 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent from behind the arc, a mark that ranks 19th in the nation. CSU touts four players that average double digits, led by sophomore sharp-shooter Bryn Forbes with 15.8 points per game. Forbes also averages 2.5 threes per game and shoots nearly 42 percent from downtown.
Oh So Close
During the past three games, UIC has proven they can play with the league’s top teams as the Flames owned the lead with less than six minutes to play in all three contests. In UIC’s latest defeat, first-place Green Bay tied the score with just 2:38 left to play after the Flames were in front for the previous 14 minutes and 21 seconds. Against UWM on Jan. 16, UIC owned a 13-point halftime advantage that the Panthers finally surmounted with just over five minutes to play. At Wright State on Jan. 12, the Flames led by as much as eight points in the first half, but it wasn’t until 2:42 left in the game that the Raiders grabbed the lead for good.
One More For Heydo
Senior Hayden Humes needs one more three-pointer to crack UIC’s top 10 career leaderboard as he currently owns 115. One more trey will tie him with Aaron Carr (2000-04) who also sank 115 threes during his four-year career. Humes has actually drained 120 career threes with five of those occurring during his freshman season at Toledo. If the season ended today, Humes’ three-point shooting percentage of 39.5% would rank 10th in Flames’ history, just in front of UIC’s all-time second leading scorer Kenny Williams (39.4%).
First Half Dominance
Throughout the last six games, UIC has owned four halftime leads, including a 44-34 advantage against Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 28 and the Flames’ two halftime shortfalls combine for just five points. In those six games, the Flames are out-scoring (212-185), out-rebounding (106-76) and out-shooting (50.3% to 45.7%) their opponents. UIC has also produced a three-point shooting percentage of 48.9% during the first half of the previous six games, compared to just 32.7% 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 15 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.
Parker the Point
In starting the last three games, junior Jay Parker has shown his ability to handle point guard duties. Over that span, Parker is averaging seven points and nearly four assists per game. Against Milwaukee last Thursday, he doubled his previous career-high with 12 points and also grabbed a career-best four rebounds. Parker notched another career-high versus first-place Green Bay this past Sunday with 32 minutes of playing time.
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 7.2 points per game compared to last year’s figure (5.7 to 12.9). That increase ties for fourth among all returning Horizon League players behind Detroit’s Juwan Howard Jr. (10.2 ppg), YSU’s Ryan Weber (8.6 ppg) and Valpo’s LaVonte Dority (7.4 ppg) and equals UWM’s Kyle Kelm (7.2 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 (12.9 ppg) and second on the team.
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 62-of-100 (62%) from the floor, which ranks second among all Horizon League players. Harks has performed even better as of late, connecting on 32 of his last 46 shot attempts (70%) throughout the past nine games. If the season ended today, Harks’ 62 percent shooting clip would rank third all-time in UIC’s single season records book behind Armond Williams (63.9% in 2002-03) and Jermaine Dailey (62.8% in 2007-08).