Game #21: Flames Travel to Wright State Saturday Night

Sophomore guard Joey Miller
Sophomore guard Joey Miller

Jan. 25, 2013

UIC at Wright State (Game Notes)Get Acrobat Reader

Game #21: Flames Travel to Wright State Saturday Night
UIC Flames (12-8/3-4 HL) at Wright State Raiders (14-6/5-2 HL)

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 • Nutter Center • 6:00 p.m. CST
Live Audio: (Webcast): Justin Weiner (Play-by-Play), Kenny Williams (Color)
Live Video: Horizon League Network
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 27-54 (3rd season)
Wright State Head Coach: Billy Donlon • Record at UWM/Overall: 46-39 (3rd season)
In-Game Twitter Updates: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
Wright State69
January 25, 2012
Dayton, Ohio (Nutter Center)
Flames' Comeback Bid Falls Short at Wright State, 69-63
Freshman Marc Brown scored a team-high 17 points to lead three Flames in double figures, and UIC erased an 18-point deficit to pull within just one point down the stretch, but Wright State junior Julius Mays poured in 33 points, including a 19-of-20 effort from the free throw line, leading the Raiders to a 69-63 win over the UIC men's basketball team at the Nutter Center Wednesday night.

UIC's Last Game Starters

#23 Jay Parker • PG
Made first-career start Wednesday against Milwaukee. Averaging 14.4 minutes per game over the last five contests. Has dished out 20 assists against 13 turnovers on the season. Transferred to UIC from Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill., last April.

#4 Gary Talton • SG
The Flames' leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. In Horizon League games, is averaging a League eighth-best 14.9 ppg. Has scored in double figures 17 times this season, and 38 times during his two-year career. Hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the win over Milwaukee. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#20 Anthony Kelley • SF
Has started the past three games after seeing action in just four-of the first 17 contests of the season. Tallied first-career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Milwaukee. Has pulled down a combined 20 boards in the past two Horizon League games. UIC's lone four-year senior.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
Ranks 10th in the Horizon League in rebounding. Enters Saturday's game as Flames' third-leading scorer. Shooting 44.1 percent from the floor and 38.6 percent from three. Has led the Flames in scoring five times, and been the leading rebounder on eight occasions. UIC's career active leader in both rebounds and blocks.

#34 Josh Crittle • C
In Horizon League play, is the Flames' second-leading scorer (10.0 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.7 rpg). Averaging 2.4 assists per game, second-most on the team. Shooting 50.8 percent from the floor in conference play. Transferred to UIC from UCF in September.

Series Information: Wright State leads, 23-21
Wright State holds a slim 23-21 lead over UIC in the all-time series. Dating back to the 2006-07 season, Wright State has won 11-of the last 12 meetings, and six-straight. The Flames' last road win over the Raiders was during the 2005-06 campaign (1/25/06).

Setting the Scene
The UIC men's basketball team (12-8, 3-4 Horizon) will look two collect its first Horizon League road win Saturday, when the Flames travel to Dayton, Ohio to take on second-place Wright State (14-6, 5-2 Horizon) at the Nutter Center beginning at 6:00 p.m. UIC is coming off a defensive-minded 60-50 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night, while Wright State dropped a 68-61 decision at Youngstown State.

Back on the Horizon
UIC is in its 12th season of Horizon League play - the Flames have compiled a record of 82-111 (.425) in League games over that span, achieving winning records in both the 2002-03 (12-4) and 2003-04 (12-4) seasons. UIC's best regular season Horizon League finish was in 2003-04, when the Flames finished second, one game behind first-place Milwaukee. The Flames went on to capture the 2004 Horizon League Tournament Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament. UIC will look to break a four-year streak of losing records in Horizon League play this season. Prior to becoming a full-time member of the League, UIC served membership stints in the MCC (1994-2001) and Mid-Continent Conference (1982-94).

Last Time Out: Flames Stifle Milwaukee, 60-50
The UIC men's basketball team completed a spirited comeback, holding visiting Milwaukee to just eight second half points in a 60-50 win over the Panthers in a Horizon League game at the Pavilion Wednesday night. The eight points in the second half represents a UIC Pavilion defensive record.

UIC overcame a 17-point (42-25) halftime deficit. Senior point guard Gary Talton led all scorers with 14 points, and was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Joey Miller (12 points), sophomore center Will Simonton (career-high 10) and senior forward Anthony Kelley, who doubled up the Panthers with a career-high 10 points and career-best 11 rebounds. Milwaukee was led by senior guard Paris Gulley, who scored 14 points on six field goals.

UIC did not allow Milwaukee to score a single point in the final 9:39. The Flames claimed their first advantage of the second half with 1:35 remaining (52-50) after Talton drilled a three-pointer from the left wing. UIC equaled its entire Horizon League win total from the 2011-12 campaign, and snapped a 10-game losing streak against Milwaukee.

Putting the "D" in Defense
As it has done in dominating fashion during selected games this season, UIC clamped down on defense in the second half against Milwaukee. The Flames allowed the Panthers to convert just three field goals in the final frame, limiting UWM to just 12.0 percent (3-25) shooting. Milwaukee's eight points in the second stanza were the fewest for a UIC opponent in a single half since the University of Chicago in the 1947-48 season, UIC's first-ever season of men's basketball.

Converting the Freebies
UIC has been one-of the best free throw shooting teams in the Horizon League all season long, and enters Saturday's game ranked 22nd in the nation in the category (.751). At the beginning of Horizon League play, UIC put together a pair of flawless efforts from the free throw line against Valpo (18-18; Jan. 9) and Green Bay (8-8; Jan. 12).

Protecting the Pill
UIC has been one of the most efficient teams in the country this season in terms of taking care of the ball. The Flames enter Saturday's game at Wright State ranked 16th in the nation in turnovers per game (11.2). UIC has turned the ball over on just 17.5 percent of its possessions.

Notably, the current national leader in turnovers per game is Wisconsin (9.1), where current UIC head coach Howard Mooreserved as an assistant coach for five seasons prior to taking over the reins with the Flames.

What to Watch For
A pair of teams with aggressive man-to-man defensive principles, and similar styles of play on the offensive end. Wright State is allowing its opponents to score just 57.4 points per game, tops in the Horizon League, while UIC enters Saturday's game ranked third in the League in scoring defense (59.9 ppg). The Raiders are 11-2 this season when holding their opponents under 60 points, and UIC is a flawless 5-0 on the season when limiting the opposition between 50-59 points.

Scouting the Raiders
Wright State, who was picked ninth in the preseason Horizon League poll, is 14-6 on the season, with a 5-2 mark in Horizon League play - the Raiders enters Saturday's game in sole possession of second-place in the League standings. Junior forward Cole Darling and sophomore guard Reggie Arceneaux have teamed to spearhead WSU's offensive attack, averaging 11.1 and 10.9 points per game, respectively.

As mentioned, Wright State leads the Horizon League in scoring defense (57.4 ppg). The Raiders also enter Saturday's game ranked third in the League in three-point field goal defense (.304) and second in turnover margin (+2.9). Nationally, Wright State ranks 15th in scoring defense, 42nd in turnover margin and 54th in three-point field goal defense.

Wright State is mentored by third-year head coach Billy Donlon, a native of Northbrook, Ill. Donlon served as the Associate Head Coach with the Raiders for four years before taking over the head coaching duties on April 14, 2010.

Talton Elevates Game in Horizon League Play
Senior point guard Gary Taltonhas taken his game to another level since the outset of Horizon League play on Jan. 2. Talton enters Saturday's contest ranked eighth in the League in scoring at 14.9 points per conference game. He is also shooting 45.3 percent from the field and 46.2 percent (12-26) from three-point range in Horizon League play. Talton has continued to maintain his success from the free throw line, shooting 85.7 percent (24-28) from the charity stripe in conference games.

Newcomer of the Year Material
Senior center Josh Crittleisn't new to Division I college basketball, but he is new to the Horizon League, and is one of the leading favorites for the Newcomer of the Year Award as the half-way point of the League season approaches. The first-year transfer from UCF is averaging 10.0 ppg and 5.7 rpg in Horizon League play, while shooting 50.8 percent (30-59) from the floor. His rebounding numbers rank second among all Horizon League newcomers.

Seeking the Winning Formula
In the 12 UIC victories this season, the Flames have held their opponents to just 51.6 points per game and 35.0 percent shooting, and dished out an average of 13.5 assists per game. However, in the eight losses, UIC opponents are shooting 46.8 percent from the floor and scoring an average of 72.2 points per contest. Additionally, in the setbacks, the Flames have distributed 10.6 assists per game, nearly three helpers less than in their wins.

The Word on the Flames
• UIC primarily plays a man-to-man defensive scheme, occasionally mixing in various zone looks. Head coach Howard Moore has used a rotation of seven or eight players this season, depending on the match-up.
• UIC is allowing just 59.8 points per game, which would represent the lowest point average for its opponents in school history, and ranks 46th in the country.
• UIC currently ranks 22nd in the nation in free throw percentage, at 75.1 percent. The Flames have shot 75 percent or better from the charity stripe in 11 games this season.
• The Flames are averaging only 11.2 turnovers per game, which ranks 16th nationally. UIC has turned the ball over on just 17.5 percent of its possessions.
• When UIC holds its opponent between 30-39 percent shooting, the Flames are 9-1 on the season. UIC is also 7-1 when leading at halftime, and 5-1 when out-rebounding its opponents.
• UIC leads the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage (.395), a mark that also ranks 52nd in the nation.
• The Flames are 2-6 on the road this season, with non-conference road wins over Northern Illinois (11/27/12) and Northwestern (12/1/12).

On the Road Again
Against Wright State, UIC will look to snap a regular season Horizon League road losing streak that dates back to the 2008-09 season. The last time UIC won a Horizon League regular season road game was on Feb. 27, 2009 against rival Loyola. The losing streak spans a total of 30 games, but seven of those contests have been decided by five points or less.

Even More on the Flames
• Senior point guard Gary Talton is averaging a team-high 13.1 points per game, with a total of 262 points on the season. He is also the team leader in free throws made (70) and free throw percentage (.864) - Talton is shooting at an 86.5 percent clip from the charity stripe for his two-year career.
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes is scoring 11.3 points per game - he is shooting 38.3 percent from the floor and 37.2 percent from three-point range. Barnes is also the team and Horizon League leader in steals (28), and enters Saturday's game averaging 3.8 rebounds per game. He has sat out the past two games with a strained right knee.
• To go along with his 10.4 points per contest, junior forward Hayden Humes is averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 386 percent from three.
• Senior center Josh Crittle is averaging 10.0 points and 5.7 rebounds per game on a 50.8 percent (30-59) effort from the field in Horizon League play. The UCF transfer has scored in double figures in four-of the Flames' seven conference games.
• UIC returns four starters (Talton, Barnes, Marc Brown, Humes) from the 2011-12 team, including four-of its top five scorers. Overall, the Flames brought back 65 percent of their scoring from last season.
• During the 2012-13 campaign, UIC will play at least 14 games this season against teams that made appearances in the 2012 postseason, including four NCAA Tournament foes. The Flames are 2-2 this season against 2012 NCAA Tournament foes.
• UIC was picked to finish eighth in the nine-team preseason Horizon League poll, conducted by the League's coaches, media and sports information directors.

What's Trending?
• Senior wing Anthony Kelley has started the past three games after seeing action in just four-of the first 17 contests. During that stretch, Kelley is averaging 6.0 ppg and 7.7 rpg in an average of 25.0 minutes per contest. Kelley has led UIC in rebounding in each-of the past two games.
• Senior point guard Gary Talton has handed out at least four assists in 11 games, and dished out three or more helpers 15-of-20 contests. In home games, the Dallas native is averaging 4.8 assists per contest, and has posted a stellar 3:6 assist/turnover ratio (43 assists, 12 turnovers).
• Dating back to last season, Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 23-of the last 27 contests, including seven-straight.
• Junior forward Hayden Humes has been limited to single-digit scoring efforts in each of the last four games for the first time in his UIC career.
• Sophomore point guard Jay Parker, a first-year transfer from Highland C.C. in Freeport, Ill., has played a combined 72 minutes in the past five games (14.4 mpg), including his first-career start against Milwaukee on Wednesday. Before the Valpo game (1/9/13), Parker had played double-digit minutes just once, against Roosevelt (12/5/12). Parker has turned the ball over just seven times in the past 89:00 of action.

The Season Accolades
• Senior point guard Gary Talton was named Horizon League Co-Player of the Week on Nov. 26, 2012 after averaging 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, while committing just two turnovers in a pair of wins over Iona (11/19/12) and Southeast Missouri (11/24/12).
• Senior center Josh Crittle chalked up Horizon League Newcomer of the Week (11/24/12) honors after averaging 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game while shooting nearly 48 percent (.476) from the field against Iona and SEMO.
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes collected his first Horizon League Player of the Week honor on Dec. 17 after exploding for 30 points in UIC's convincing 74-48 win over Eastern Michigan (12/17/12), where he began his college basketball career. Barnes became the first UIC player to score 30 or more points in a single game since Jeremy Buttell at Youngstown State on Jan. 7, 2010.
• Senior center Josh Crittle was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Week (1/7/13) for the second time after scoring 14 points and pulling down seven rebounds in UIC's 65-60 win over Youngstown State (1/2/13).

UIC-Wright State: Revisiting the 2011-12 Season
Wright State swept the regular season series versus UIC in 2011-12, picking up a pair of wins by a combined 10 points. The Raiders outlasted the Flames in overtime (74-40) at the Pavilion (12/31/11), and held off a second half comeback at the Nutter Center (1/25/12) to post a 69-63 victory.

In the overtime setback in Chicago, graduated senior center Darrin Williams scored a career-high 22 points, but fouled out with 42 seconds remaining in regulation, and Wright State out-scored the Flames 16-12 in overtime. Point guard Gary Talton poured in 21 points, while Marc Brownchipped in with 12. The Raiders were led by Julius Mays, who scored 21 points, and Johann Mpondo, who chipped in 16. WSU's bench out-scored UIC's reserves 19-2 a game that featured a combined 25 ties and lead changes.

In the return game at the Nutter Center, Brown scored a team-high 17 points to lead three Flames in double figures, and UIC erased an 18-point deficit to pull within just one point down the stretch, but Mays poured in 33 points, including a 19-of-20 effort from the free throw line. Brown was joined in double figures by junior point guard Talton, who scored 14 points, and Williams, who chipped in 11 points.

UIC trailed 42-24 with just under two minutes remaining in the first half, but mounted a furious second-half comeback, pulling within just one point with 7:26 remaining. Guard Daniel Barnesmissed a three-pointer from the right corner (2:45) that would have given UIC the lead, but it drew iron and went long. Wright State converted 10 free throws in the final 2:36 to secure the six-point win.

Gettin' Defensive
UIC is on its way to enjoying its most successful team defensive season in program history. The Flames have held eight opponents under 35 percent shooting (11 under 40 percent) - UIC has also limited six opponents to fewer than 50 points for the first time in more than 60 years (1949-50). On Nov. 17 against Mercer, the Flames held the Bears to just 36 total points, the fewest for an opponent since the 1959-60 season, and against Milwaukee (1/23/13), UIC limited the Panthers to just eight second-half points, which set a new UIC Pavilion record, and was the second fewest single-half total for a UIC opponent in program history.

More on the Defense
The numbers bear it - when UIC is defending to the level that it is capable of, the Flames are a difficult team to beat. Two of the more notable statistics are opponent's points per game and defensive field goal percentage. When UIC allows its opponent to score 70 or more points, the Flames are just 1-5 on the season. In contrast, when the Flames hold the opposition between 30 and 39 percent from the field, UIC is 8-1.

New Kids on the Block
• UIC has seven new players on the 2012-13 roster, including three freshmen (one walk-on), two sophomores and two seniors.
• Three of the newcomers have Division I experience: Josh Crittle (UCF), Joey Miller (Eastern Illinois) and Kelsey Barlow (Purdue). Barlow will sit out the entire 2012-13 season satisfying NCAA transfer rules. Crittle and Miller were both given immediate eligibility with the Flames.
Gabe Snider and Jake Wiegand are true freshmen, as is walk-on Ngijol Songolo. • Joey Miller and Jay Parker are sophomore eligible.
• Head coach Howard Moore's 2012-13 class was ranked at the "Head of the Class" by USA Today in the publication's season preview and "Rating the Recruiting" section.