Flames Host Valparaiso to Start Second Half of League Season

Freshman Markese McGuire
Freshman Markese McGuire

Jan. 31, 2014

UIC Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Valparaiso (13-10, 5-3) vs. UIC (5-17, 0-8)
 Date Saturday, Feb. 1
 Time 3 p.m. CT
 Location Chicago, Ill. | UIC Pavilion
 Live Stats
 TV CSN Chicago (Dave Kaplan & Jordan Bernfield)
 Game Notes UIC Flames | Valparaiso Crusaders


 Season Stats UIC Flames | Valparaiso Crusaders
ESPN 1000 (Dave Juday & Kenny Williams)


Opening Tip
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-17, 0-8) returns home to begin the second half of Horizon League play on Saturday against Valparaiso with tip scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.  The Flames dropped an 87-72 decision at Valpo earlier this season on Jan. 2, after UIC held an eight-point halftime lead.  The Crusaders have bested UIC in nine-straight meetings, but the Flames hold the all-time series advantage at 29-18.  Saturday’s contest will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and ESPN3, with audio coverage available on ESPN 1000. 


Last Time Out
In a game that fell witness to nine ties and five lead changes, Detroit used a 13-7 run in the final five minutes to squeak by UIC, 74-68.  The Flames had momentum late in the game and tallied seven straight points to knot the score at 61-61 with 5:46 remaining, but back-to-back threes by Titan sophomore Anton Wilson gave Detroit the permanent lead.  Junior Marc Brown paced UIC with 24 points, one shy of his career-high, while senior Kelsey Barlow added 18 points and seven rebounds.  Sophomore Jake Wiegand continued his solid post play with 13 points and eight boards. 

Scouting the Crusaders
Valparaiso enters Saturday’s matchup after snapping first-place Green Bay’s 12-game win streak this past Wednesday at home by a final of 75-60.  They tout an overall record of 13-10 with a Horizon League mark of 5-3 and have picked up stream as of late, winning four of their last five outings.  As a team Valparaiso ranks Top 50 in the NCAA in both field goal percentage (.478) and field goal percentage defense (.397).  They also carry one of the nation’s best rebounding margins of +7.3.  Senior LaVonte Dority leads the team in scoring with an average of 16.6 points per game.  The Crusaders employ superb offensive distribution as seven players average more than 6.2 points per game. 

Oh So Close
In five of UIC’s last six games, the Flames have either been in the lead or tied with less than six minutes left to play and have also held an advantage of at least eight or more points in four of those contests.  Five of those six defeats have been by six points or less.  

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 eight Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 89-51.  UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 87-58 and have not been outdone in this category in league play thus far.  UIC ranks second in the conference in offensive rebounds with 10.9 per game in league games only.

“Mini-Lebron James”
Big Ten Network college basketball analyst Tim Doyle recently stated that senior Kelsey Barlow reminded him of a “mini-Lebron James.”  Barlow stands alone as the only player in the Horizon League and one of very few in the nation to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists and steals.  Barlow also ranks second on the team in blocks, sitting one swat behind senior Jordan Harks.  On top of that, he is the conference’s lone player to average more than 15 points, five rebounds and three assists per game.

Robo Cop to the Rescue
Sophomore Jake Wiegand, aka Robo Cop, has found himself a spot in the starting lineup during the past five games and has provided UIC with a much needed spark.  In the past five outings, Wiegand is averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.  He is also shooting 20-of-38 (.526) from the field and 16-of-19 (.842) from the foul line in the same timeframe.  He ranks eighth in offensive rebounds in the Horizon League and is tied for third in league-only games.

Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 77-of-119 (64.7%) from the floor, which ranks first among all Horizon League players.  Harks has performed even better as of late, connecting on 15 of his last 19 shot attempts (79%) throughout the past three games.  If the season ended today, Harks’ 64.7 percent shooting clip would rank first on UIC’s all-time single-season leaderboard.  The 6-foot-8 forward also paces the conference with a 67.5 percent shooting mark (27-of-40) in league games only.

What Can Brown Do For You?
Junior Marc Brown nearly equaled his career-high of 25 points against Detroit this past Wednesday with a team-high 24, his highest scoring output since Nov. 16.  Brown has taken his offensive game to the next level this season by increasing his scoring average by 6.9 ppg. and has bettered his field goal shooting by more than eight percentage points (.348 to .429).  His 13.3 points per game average in league games leads the team and ranks 11th in the conference.  Brown has already scored 90 more points than last year’s total and needs 34 more to reach 700 for his career.

Banging the Boards
Since entering league play, UIC has improved its rebounding tremendously as they rank second in rebounding margin in conference play at +4.9.  They have only been bested on the glass three times since the turn of the New Year for a combined deficit of a mere seven rebounds in those games.  The Flames recorded a season-high margin of +17 (38-21) against Oakland last Saturday, the program’s highest margin in nearly three years (Jan. 29, 2011 vs. YSU [+27])

Injury Updates
Senior Hayden Humes is expected to miss 2-3 weeks after suffering an eye injury last week during practice.  Humes did not play against Oakland on Saturday.  Lance Whitaker underwent successful ACL surgery in late December and will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season.