Game #22: Flames Return Home to Host Green Bay Thursday

Senior center Josh Crittle
Senior center Josh Crittle

Jan. 30, 2013

UIC vs. Green Bay (Game Notes)Get Acrobat Reader

Game #22: Flames Return Home to Host Green Bay Thursday
UIC Flames (13-8/4-4 HL) vs. Green Bay Phoenix (11-10/5-3 HL)

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 • UIC Pavilion • 7:00 p.m. CST
Live Audio: ESPN Chicago/ (Dave Juday/Kenny Williams/Jonathan Hood)
Live Video: League Network
Television: Sports32 (Green Bay market only)
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 28-54 (3rd season)
Green Bay Head Coach: Brian Wardle • Record at UWGB/Overall: 40-43 (3rd season)
In-Game Twitter Updates: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
Green Bay53
January 12, 2013
Green Bay, Wis.
Flames Fall Short at Green Bay, 53-47
The UIC men's basketball team held Green Bay to just a 36.2 percent effort from the floor, but came up short in a Horizon League game at the Resch Center Saturday afternoon, 53-47.

UIC's Last Game Starters
#4 Gary Talton • PG
The Flames' leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. In Horizon League games, is averaging a League fifth-best 15.3 ppg. Has scored in double figures 18 times this season, and 39 times during his two-year career. Scored a game-high 18 points in last Saturday's win at Wright State. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#3 Joey Miller • SG
Has appeared in all 21 games this season, and started two-of the past three contests. Has posted four double-digit scoring outputs, and seen at least 20 minutes of action eight times this season. Transferred to UIC from Eastern Illinois in April 2012.

#20 Anthony Kelley • SF
Has started the past four 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 23 boards in the past three Horizon League games (7.7 rpg). UIC's lone four-year senior.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
Ranks 10th in the Horizon League in rebounding. Enters Thursday's game as Flames' third-leading scorer. Shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 39.3 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 (10.1 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.3 rpg). Averaging 2.3 assists per game, second-most on the team. Shooting 49.3 percent from the floor in conference play. Transferred to UIC from UCF in September.

Series Information: Green Bay leads, 50-35
Green Bay leads the all-time series against UIC, 50-35. Since 2004-05, the Phoenix has controlled the match-up, winning 14 of the last 18 contests. Green Bay recorded the regular season sweep over UIC last season for the first time since 2008-09, and outlasted the Flames, 53-47, on Jan. 12 at the Resch Center.

Setting the Scene
The UIC men's basketball team (13-8, 4-4 Horizon) will look to win its third-straight Horizon League game Thursday, when the Flames host Green Bay (11-10, 5-3 Horizon) in the back end of a doubleheader at the Pavilion, scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The Flames defeated Wright State 55-49 at the Nutter Center last Saturday, recording their first Horizon League road win of the season. Green Bay upended rival Milwaukee, 74-54, last Friday at the Klotsche Center.

The Week That Was
UIC got back to its defensive ways last week, holding Milwaukee and Wright State to just a combined 32.7 percent effort from the field, including an 18.5 percent output from three-point range. In back-to-back halves against Milwaukee (2nd half) and WSU (1st half), UIC surrendered just a combined 22 points. With consecutive wins over the Panthers and Raiders, UIC improved to 8-1 on the season when holding its opponent to 50 or fewer points.

Back on the Horizon
UIC is in its 12th season of Horizon League play - the Flames have compiled a record of 83-111 (.428) 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 Grind Out Road Win at Wright State
Senior point guard Gary Taltonscored a game-high 18 points, including an 11-of-14 effort from the free throw line in the second half, helping lead the UIC men's basketball team to its first Horizon League road win, 55-49 over Wright State in front of 8,065 fans at the Nutter Center last Saturday.

UIC played 40 minutes of gritty defense, holding the Raiders to just 33.3 percent shooting, including a 23.8 percent output in the first half. The Flames led by 14 points twice in the game, but were forced to hold off Wright State's second half rally - the Raiders sliced UIC's lead to just three points three times in the final 4:34, but never took the lead.

To go along with his 18 points, Talton pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists. He was joined in double figures by Josh Crittle, who chipped in 11 points. Wright State leading scorer Cole Darling scored 11 points - he was the lone Raider in double figures.

The victory ended a 30-game Horizon League regular season road losing streak for the Flames. Before Saturday, UIC's last regular season Horizon League road win was on Feb. 27, 2009 against rival Loyola.

Closer of the League?
Senior point guard Gary Taltonis one of the most consistent scorers in the Horizon League - he enters Thursday's game ranked fifth in the conference in scoring (15.3 ppg) during League play. But where Talton has especially shined this season has been down the stretch of games, particularly in the final 4:00. In UIC's four Horizon League wins, after the final media timeout, Talton is shooting 88.9 percent (8-9) from floor, 100 percent (3-3) from three-point range and 86.7 percent (13-15) from free throw line. That includes the game-winning basket against Loyola (1/16/13) with 1.7 seconds remaining, and the go-ahead field goal against Milwaukee (1/23/13) with just 1:35 left.

Back to the Winning Recipe
Against Wright State, UIC's defensive effort mirrored what helped the Flames get off to a record-setting 9-1 start during the months of November and December. UIC held the Raiders to just 49 points, improving to 7-0 on the season when holding the opposition to less than 50 points. The Flames also moved to 10-1 on the season when holding its opponent between 30-39 percent shooting (33.3) from the field.

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 of the Flames' last home game against Milwaukee (1/23/13). UIC 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.

The effort carried over to the first half of last Saturday's game at Wright State, where UIC held the Raiders to just 14 first half points. Earlier this season, UIC limited Roosevelt to 12 first half points, which set a UIC Pavilion record.

Converting the Freebies
UIC has been one-of the best free throw shooting teams in the Horizon League all season long, and enters Thursday's game ranked 21st in the nation in the category (.752). 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 Thursday's game against Green Bay ranked 31st in the nation in turnovers per game (11.6). UIC has turned the ball over on just 18.2 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.

No Threes For You
UIC has been one of the most efficient defensive teams in the Horizon League all year, having led the League in defensive field goal percentage (.392) for the majority of the season. The Flames have also been particularly stingy around the perimeter. UIC is allowing its opponents to shoot just 29.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc, which ranks 24th in the nation, and is the second-lowest mark in the Horizon League, behind only Milwaukee.

With a Win Over Green Bay, UIC Would...
• Improve to 5-4 in Horizon League play for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign
• Move to 9-1 at the Pavilion this season
• Secure the regular season split against the Phoenix
• Snap a three-game losing streak against Green Bay
• Tally its first three-game Horizon League winning streak since the 2008-09 season
• Improve to 4-1 in its past five games
• Secure head coach Howard Moore's20th career win at the UIC Pavilion

Scouting the Phoenix
Green Bay, who was picked third in the preseason Horizon League poll, is 11-10 on the season, with a 5-3 mark in Horizon League play - the Phoenix has won five-of their last six. Preseason Second-Team All-Horizon League selection Keifer Sykes has guided Green Bay's offensive attack, averaging 15.3 points per game to go along with 4.2 assists per contest. Preseason Horizon League First-Team pick Alec Brown is scoring 12.6 points per outing, and averaging a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game. Brennan Cougill is averaging 11.5 points per game.

Green Bay currently ranks second in the Horizon League in rebounding margin (+4.4) and blocks per game (4.5), while leading the League in free throw percentage (.752). The Phoenix is coached by Brian Wardle, who is in his third year at the helm.

Standout Newcomer in the Middle
Senior center Josh Crittleisn't new to Division I college basketball, but he is new to the Horizon League, and is one of the candidates for the Newcomer of the Year Award as the second half of the League season begins. The first-year transfer from UCF is averaging 10.1 ppg and 5.3 rpg in Horizon League play, while shooting 49.3 percent (34-69) from the floor. His rebounding numbers rank second among all Horizon League newcomers.

Seeking the Winning Formula
In the 13 UIC victories this season, the Flames have held their opponents to just 51.4 points per game and 34.9 percent shooting, and dished out an average of 13.0 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.

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 59.3 points per game, which would represent the lowest point average for its opponents in school history, and ranks 40th in the country.
• UIC currently ranks 21st in the nation in free throw percentage, at 75.2 percent. The Flames have shot 75 percent or better from the charity stripe in 12 games this season.
• The Flames are averaging only 11.6 turnovers per game, which ranks 31st nationally. UIC has turned the ball over on just 18.2 percent of its possessions.
• When UIC holds its opponent between 30-39 percent shooting, the Flames are 10-1 on the season. UIC is also 8-1 when leading at halftime, and 5-1 when out-rebounding its opponents.
• UIC leads the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage (.389), a mark that also ranks 43rd in the nation.
• The Flames are 8-1 at the Pavilion this season, including Horizon League home wins over Youngstown State (1/2/13), Loyola (1/16/13) and Milwaukee (1/23/13).

Even More on the Flames
• Senior point guard Gary Talton is averaging a team-high 13.3 points per game, with a total of 280 points on the season. He is also the team leader in free throws made (81) and free throw percentage (.853) - Talton is shooting at an 85.9 percent clip from the charity stripe for his two-year career.
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes is scoring 10.9 points per game, and is the team leader in steals (28). He enters Wednesday's game against Green Bay averaging 3.8 rebounds per contest.
• To go along with his 10.2 points per contest, junior forward Hayden Humes is averaging a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from three.
• Senior center Josh Crittle is averaging 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on a 49.3 percent (34-69) effort from the field during Horizon League play. The UCF transfer has scored in double figures in five-of the Flames' eight 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 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 four games after seeing action in just four-of the first 17 contests. During that stretch, Kelley is averaging 5.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in an average of 23.5 minutes per contest. Kelley has led UIC in rebounding in two-of the past three games.
• Senior point guard Gary Talton has handed out at least four assists in 12 games, and dished out three or more helpers 16-of-21 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 24-of the last 28 contests, including eight-straight.
• Junior forward Hayden Humes has been limited to single-digit scoring efforts in each of the last five 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 76 minutes in the past six games (12.7 mpg), including his first-career start against Milwaukee last 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 93:00 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).

Last Time Against Green Bay
The UIC men's basketball team held Green Bay to just a 36.2 percent effort from the floor, but came up short in a Horizon League game at the Resch Center on Jan. 12, 53-47.

In a defensive-minded game, UIC's lone double-digit scorer was senior point guard Gary Talton, who chipped in 11 points. Green Bay was led by preseason All-Horizon League First-Team pick Alec Brown, who scored 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds. UIC stifled the Phoenix to just a 33.3 percent shooting effort in the second half, but the Flames finished the game with only a 34.0 percent output from the floor.

After senior guard Daniel Barnesconverted a pair of free throws at the 4:48 mark, the Flames had a 43-40 lead. But UIC was held to just two field goals down the stretch, falling behind 51-45 with 10.0 seconds remaining.

Gettin' Defensive
UIC is on its way to enjoying its most successful team defensive season in program history. The Flames have held nine opponents under 35 percent shooting (12 under 40 percent) - UIC has also limited seven 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 9-1.