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    Jan. 26, 2011

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    Cleveland State Basketball   Horizon League Basketball   Flame Throwers

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    LEADING OFF...
    » The Flames will be looking to secure their first Horizon League win of the season, after dropping their eighth-straight decision at Loyola (68-59) last Saturday.

    » Senior guard Robo Kreps passed the 1,400 career-point plateau with a game-high 19 tallies against Loyola, and enters Thursday's contest with 199 career three-pointers. He is just one trey away from becoming the fifth player in program history to compile at least 200 career three-pointers.

    » Senior forward Paul Carter posted his eighth double-double of the season at Loyola (1/22/11), scoring 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

    » UIC is the top-ranked offensive rebounding team in the Horizon League, averaging nearly 14 offensive boards (13.5) per game. The Flames also rank third in the conference in rebounding margin (+3.9) during Horizon League play.

    » Cleveland State posted a wire-to-wire 83-59 win over the Flames at the Wolstein Center on New Year's Day. Robo Kreps scored a team-high 21 points and Paul Carter recorded a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds), but CSU's Trevon Harmon (24 points), Norris Cole (21) and Jeremy Montgomery (13) combined for 58 points, and the Vikings shot 53.6 percent in the second half, after being limited to a 38.9 percent effort in the opening 20 minutes.

    UP NEXT...
    UIC will complete its two-game homestand by hosting Youngstown State at the UIC Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 29) beginning at 3 p.m. CST.

    The Penguins posted a 71-69 win over the Flames at the Beeghly Center on Dec. 30, but have dropped six-straight Horizon League decisions since. Youngstown State is scheduled to play at Loyola Thursday night at 7 p.m.

    THE COACHES
    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.

    Cleveland State: Gary Waters, who also served head coaching stints at Rutgers and Kent State, is in his fourth season as the mentor at Cleveland State.

    Waters has led the Vikings to back-to-back postseason appearances, including an NIT invitation in 2008 and the school's second NCAA bid in 2009. That stretch has included consecutive 20-win campaigns for the first time since the 1980s. He led the Golden Flashes to a 92-60 record in five seasons from 1996-2001, and at Rutgers, Waters' Scarlet Knights advanced to three NIT's.

    SCOUTING THE FLAMES
    UIC is 5-15 (0-8 Horizon) on the season, including a 2-5 record at the UIC Pavilion. The Flames, who will be playing their first home game since Jan. 8, are coming off a 68-59 loss at Loyola last Saturday.

    Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 15.3 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 64 assists in his first full season running the point. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.5 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 8.3 caroms per contest, second-best in the Horizon League. Kreps currently ranks seventh in the conference in scoring, while Carter is ninth.

    In Horizon League play, Carter ranks ninth in the conference in scoring (14.6 ppg) and second in rebounding, at 8.6 caroms per game. He is averaging 6.3 defensive rebounds per contest in UIC's eight Horizon League games.

    UIC is averaging 62.7 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 (13.5 rpg), while ranking third in overall rebounding margin (+3.9).

    In home games, the Flames are limiting their opponents to just 63.6 points per contest, and convincingly out-rebounding the opposition, 39.7-29.4 rpg.

    SCOUTING THE VIKINGS
    Cleveland State, who has won three-straight games, is 18-3 (7-2 Horizon) on the season, and currently sits atop the Horizon League standings. The Vikings are coming off a 64-46 win over Wright State on Jan. 22.

    Senior guard Norris Cole, a preseason All-Horizon League First-Team honoree, leads the conference in scoring (20.1 ppg), assists (5.1 apg) and steals per game (2.4). Junior guard Trevor Harmon is averaging 13.9 points per contest, while Chicago native Jeremy Montgomery has added 11.1 points per game.

    Junior forward Aaron Pogue is averaging a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game, while shooting a team-best 51 percent (.508) from the floor. He has combined with sophomore forward Charlie Woods to produce 35 blocked shots.

    In Horizon League play, Cleveland State leads the conference in scoring margin (+9.4) and free throw percentage (.755), while ranking second in both defensive field goal percentage (.396) and three-point field goal percentage (.388).

    LAST TIME AGAINST THE VIKINGS
    Senior forward Paul Carter 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 tallied an 83-59 wire-to-wire win over the UIC men's basketball team at the Wolstein Center on New Year's Day.

    Carter scored 11 points and corralled 10 rebounds, while Kreps scored a team-high 21 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Cleveland State was paced by Trevon Harmon (24 points), Horizon League leading scorer Norris Cole (21) and Jeremy Montgomery (13), who combined for 58 of the Vikings' 83 points.

    The Vikings tallied 15 steals, and convincingly out-scored UIC in the paint (38-18), off turnovers (21-5) and through the fast break (10-0). The Flames edged CSU on the boards, 35-34. The Vikings shot 53.6 percent in the second half, after being limited to a 38.9 percent effort in the opening 20 minutes.

    BREAKING DOWN THE LOYOLA GAME
    Seniors Paul Carter (10) and Robo Kreps (19) both scored in double figures, tallying their respective 18th and 15th double-digit scoring outputs ... Carter's 11 rebounds also secured his eighth double-double of the season ... Junior forward Dorian Tyler scored a season-high six points in 12 minutes of action ... UIC shot 49 percent (25-51) from the field, its third-most efficient output during Horizon League play ... The Flames recorded a 36-32 advantage on the boards, but Loyola pulled down 15 offensive rebounds to UIC's 10 offensive boards ... UIC fell behind by a game-high 20 points (53-33) with 12:52 remaining, and trailed 59-40 with 9:17 left ... The Flames then held the Ramblers without a field goal for the final 6:29, pulling within five points (62-57) with 1:34 remaining ... Kreps and Carter each missed open threes in the final 1:01 that would have trimmed the deficit to just two points ... UIC out-scored the Ramblers 32-30 in the paint, but were out-scored off turnovers (21-13), on second-chance points (12-6), and through both the fast break (14-4) and the bench (29-24) ... Overall, the Flames out-scored Loyola in the second half, 32-28.

    THE SERIES
    Cleveland State leads the all-time series between the Flames and Vikings 35-32, breaking an all-time tie with a regular season sweep last year. Overall, CSU has captured SIX-straight victories over UIC, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.

    The series began in the 1981-82 campaign, with Cleveland State winning both regular season meetings by a combined seven points. The Flames then rolled off five-straight wins, and also defeated the Vikings seven-consecutive times from 1996-99.

    DOUBLE TROUBLE
    Senior forward Paul Carter leads the Flames with eight double-doubles on the season, including five 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), Green Bay (1/15/11) and Loyola (1/22/11).

    THE CHASE FOR 1,500
    As mentioned, senior guard Robo Kreps passed the 1,400 career-point plateau at Loyola last Saturday, scoring a game-high 19 points. He enters this week's slate of games with 1,411 career points, just 47 tallies short of moving into a tie for ninth-place all-time alongside Mark Miller (1995-98). With 89 more points, Kreps would also become the ninth player in program history to score 1,500 or more points.

    BIRTON STEPPING IT UP IN LEAGUE PLAY
    Senior forward Brad Birton, who is averaging 4.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in his 19 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 8.0 points on a near 60 percent (.595) effort from the field in Horizon League games.

    COLLECTIVE EFFORT
    UIC enters Thursday's contest as the Horizon League's top offensive rebounding team (in conference games), averaging 13.5 offensive boards per game. It has been a collective effort on the glass, with Brad Birton (2.9 rpg; 5th), Paris Carter (2.4 rpg; 7th) and Paul Carter (2.4 rpg; 8th) all ranking in the top-10 of the league in offensive rebounds during Horizon League play.

    CONTROLLING THE BOARDS
    As mentioned, UIC has out-rebounded 13-of its 20 opponents this season, including eight-of the last nine, and all seven-of-eight Horizon League foes.

    CARTER'S CAROMS
    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 (8.3 rpg), Carter has led the Flames in rebounding 12 times, and also grabbed nine or more caroms on 11 occasions.

    THE 70-POINT PLATEAU
    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.

    CARTER'S JOURNEY
    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.

    Carter comes from a strong sports family. Ron Carter, Paul's father, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1978, and his older brother, Ron III, was an All-American triple jumper at California State-Long Beach.