Jan. 24, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-15, 0-6) will journey to new-Horizon League member Oakland (7-14, 2-4) on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT, the first meeting between the two programs in over 10 years. The Flames are still in search of their first conference win, while the Grizzles look to get back on track after two road losses at Cleveland State and Green Bay. Saturday’s contest will be the fifth-ever gathering of UIC and Oakland with OU winning all four previous outings. Fans can watch the game on the Horizon League Network or tune in to ESPN 1000 for audio coverage.
Last Time Out
UIC had troubles containing Cleveland State’s hot three-point shooting this past Thursday night in a 74-64 defeat at home. The Vikings hit 10-of-15 (67%) from behind the arc, the highest single-game shooting percentage among all Horizon League teams this season. The Flames had several chances in the second half to make it a one-possession game, but CSU had an answer for every UIC bucket. The Flames were ice-cold in the first half, making just 9-of-29 from the field, but bounced back in the final period to shoot 14-of-26. Sophomore Jake Wiegand notched a career-high 17 points, while junior Jay Parker added 10.
Scouting the Grizzles
Oakland enters Saturday’s matchup with an overall record of 7-14 and a Horizon League mark of 2-4. According to ESPN, OU touts the eighth-best strength of schedule during the non-league season, facing opponents such as North Carolina, Gonzaga, UCLA, Indiana and Michigan State. The Grizzles are piloted by Greg Kampe who is in his 30th year as head coach, which serves as the third-longest active streak at one school in the D-I ranks. OU’s leading scorer is senior Travis Bader (19.1 ppg) who needs just 13 more three-pointers to break the NCAA’s all-time made threes record currently held by former Duke guard J.J. Reddick. Oakland’s big man Corey Petros nearly averages a double-double with 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest.
Career Night for Wiegand
Sophomore Jake Wiegand had one of his best collegiate performances this past Thursday against Cleveland State, notching career-highs of 17 points and six made field goals. Wiegand scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and grabbed six boards in the final period. The 6-foot-8 power forward now has seven double-digit scoring efforts this season and is averaging 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the last three games, leading UIC in both categories. Wiegand also ranks sixth in the Horizon League in offensive boards, pulling down 2.4 caroms per outing.
Showing No Quit
Despite recent struggles, glaring signs that UIC continues to fight is shown on the offensive glass and with second-chance points. In their six Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 68-45. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 71-46 and have not been outdone in this category in league play thus far.
Humes Cracks the Top 10 List
Senior Hayden Humes sank two threes in Thursday night’s game against Cleveland State, giving him 117 triples as a Flame, good enough for 10th all-time in program history. Ahead of Humes in ninth place is Theandre Kimbrough (1995-2000) with 136 career treys. Humes has now hit at least one three in each of the last six games and owns a behind-the-arc shooting percentage of 39.5%. If the season ended today, that figure would rank ninth all-time on UIC’s career leaderboard.
First Half Heroics
Throughout the last seven games, UIC has owned four halftime leads, including a 44-34 advantage against Illinois and the Flames’ three halftime shortfalls combine for just 11 points. In those seven games, the Flames are out-scoring (235-214), out-rebounding (123-94) and out-shooting (47.4% to 45.5%) their opponents. UIC has also produced a three-point shooting percentage of 42.9% during the first half of the previous seven games, compared to just 37.7% for their competition.
Parker the Point
In starting the last four games, junior Jay Parker has shown his ability to handle point guard duties. Over that span, Parker is averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. Against Cleveland State, he dished out a career-high six assists and logged a career-best 37 minutes. Parker is also 10-of-10 from the foul line in the past four games with two double-digit scoring performances.
After sitting out most of the non-conference season due to a broken hand, junior center Will Simonton has provided the Flames with valuable minutes during the last two games. Versus CSU, Simonton scored a season-high six points and grabbed two rebounds in just 13 minutes of action. He was also 2-of-2 from the field and the foul line. Against first-place Green Bay, the 6-foot-10 big man posted four points and three boards in 18 minutes of court time.
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 three 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.
Breakthrough Performer of the Year
Junior Marc Brown is having one of the top breakout seasons in the Horizon League this year as he has upped his scoring average by nearly seven points per game. The Dallas native has paced UIC in scoring in six games so far this season compared to just once in 2012-13. 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 14th in the Horizon League in scoring (12.4 ppg) and second on the team.
Gary Talton Excelling in NBA D-league
Former UIC point guard Gary Talton is having a tremendous first season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA’s D-League. Since becoming the starting point guard on Dec.27, Talton has been averaging 12.3 points and 10.8 assists per game in his last 11 outings. On Jan. 17 against the Texas Legends, Talton dished out a career-high 21 assists, falling one helper shy of tying the D-League single-game record. Talton spent two years with UIC (2011-13) after two seasons at Mountain View Community College. He earned second-team All-Horizon League last season and stands as the Flames’ all-time leader in free throw shooting percentage (.865).