Game #23: Flames Seek Fourth-Straight HL Win, Host Cleveland State Saturday Night

Junior forward Hayden Humes
Junior forward Hayden Humes

Feb. 1, 2013

UIC vs. Cleveland State (Game Notes)Get Acrobat Reader

Game #23: Flames Seek Fourth-Straight HL Win, Host Cleveland State Saturday Night
UIC Flames (14-8/5-4 HL) vs. Cleveland State (10-12/2-6 HL)

Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 • UIC Pavilion • 7:00 p.m. CST
Live Audio/Video: League Network
HLN Talent: Justin Weiner (Play-by-Play)/Kenny Williams (Color commentary)
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 29-54 (3rd season)
CSU Head Coach: Gary Waters • Record at CSU/Overall: 132-94 (7th season)/303-229 (17th season)
In-Game Twitter Updates: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
Cleveland State60
January 7, 2013
Cleveland, Ohio
Turnovers Plague Flames in 60-50 Loss at Cleveland State
The UIC men's basketball team committed 12 first-half turnovers, and Cleveland State's Tim Kamczyc scored 13 second half points, keying the Vikings to a 60-50 win over the Flames in a Horizon League game at the Wolstein Center Monday night.

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 eighth-best 14.7 ppg. Has scored in double figures 19 times this season, and 40 times during his two-year career. Has dished out 88 assists against 51 turnovers on the season. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#3 Joey Miller • SG
Has appeared in all 22 games this season, and started three-of the past four 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 five 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 27 boards in the past three Horizon League games (6.8 rpg). Swiped the game-winning steal against Green Bay Thursday night. 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 45.1 percent from the floor and 39.8 percent from three. Has led the Flames in scoring six times, and been the leading rebounder on nine occasions. Posted game-highs in points (18) and rebounds (9) against Green Bay Thursday. UIC's career active leader in both rebounds and blocks.

#34 Josh Crittle • C
In Horizon League play, is the Flames' second-leading scorer (10.7 ppg) and leading rebounder (5.7 rpg). Averaging 2.3 assists per game, second-most on the team. Shooting 48.1 percent from the floor in conference play. Transferred to UIC from UCF in September.

Series Information: Cleveland State leads, 40-32
Cleveland State leads the all-time series against UIC, 40-32. Overall, CSU has captured 11-straight victories over the Flames, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. The series began in the 1981-82 season, 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.

Setting the Scene
The UIC men's basketball team (14-8, 5-4 Horizon) will look to collect its 10th home win of the season Saturday, when the Flames host Cleveland State (10-12, 2-6 Horizon) at the Pavilion in a rare weekend night home game (7:00 p.m.). The Flames are coming off a thrilling 60-57 win over Green Bay Thursday night, while Cleveland State has been idle since Jan. 26, when the Vikings dropped a 73-59 decision at Youngstown State in the Horizon League Network Game of the Week.

Back on the Horizon
UIC is in its 12th season of Horizon League play - the Flames have compiled a record of 84-111 (.431) 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 Knock Off Green Bay, 60-57
Senior center Josh Crittledrained a pair of free throws with just 16 seconds remaining, helping the UIC men's basketball team erase a late-game deficit to defeat visiting Green Bay, 60-57, in a Horizon League game at the Pavilion Thursday night. With the victory, the Flames improved to 9-1 at home on the season, and tallied their first three-game Horizon League winning streak since the 2008-09 campaign.

Junior forward Hayden Humes scored a game-high 18 points on eight field goals, and pulled down nine rebounds. Crittle scored 15 points and corralled nine boards, while senior point guard Gary Taltonchipped in 10 points for his 40th career double-digit scoring output.

Crittle scored UIC's final six points to preserve the come-from-behind win. With UIC trailing 57-54 after Brown's lone three-pointer, Crittle scored inside to pull UIC within 57-56 with 1:07 remaining. After UIC forced a defensive stop, Crittle was fouled with 16 seconds left, and drilled both ensuing free throws as the Flames reclaimed the lead, 58-57. He made two more freebies with just 1.8 seconds left after senior Anthony Kelleyswiped a timely steal from the hands of Keifer Sykes as the Phoenix were setting up for the final shot.

Onto the Month of February
UIC tips off the month of February against Cleveland State Saturday night, and will look to keep its month-by-month success rolling. The Flames have tallied winning records in each of the first three months of the season, going 5-1 in November, 4-3 in December and 5-4 in January. The last time UIC collected winning records in each of the first three months of the season was during the 2003-04 campaign, when the Flames tallied winning marks in November (5-1), December (4-3), January (6-3) and February (7-0), won the Horizon League Tournament Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Closer of the League?
Senior point guard Gary Taltonis one of the most consistent scorers in the Horizon League - he enters Saturday's game ranked eighth in the conference in scoring (14.7 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 five 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 88.2 percent (15-17) 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.

Deja Vu?
UIC's last three home games against Loyola (1/16/13), Milwaukee (1/23/13) and Green Bay (1/31/13) have all resulted in wins, helping the Flames push their record to 9-1 at the UIC Pavilion this season. It doesn't take much crunching of the numbers to recognize the similarities between the three victories. The Flames edged the Ramblers 61-59, outlasted UWM 60-50, and defeated Green Bay, 60-57. The results are a part of UIC's winning recipe this season, especially at home. UIC is 6-0 when scoring between 60-69 points, and 4-1 in games decided by five points or less.

What to Watch For
Senior point guard Gary Talton is slated to make his 50th career start against Cleveland State Saturday, and senior forward Anthony Kelley will be playing in his 50th career game. Talton enters the contest with 290 points this season, 10 tallies short of becoming UIC's first player to score 300 points. Meanwhile, junior forward Hayden Humesenters the game with 292 career rebounds in a UIC uniform, just eight caroms shy of 300.

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.

UIC is 7-0 on the season when limiting the opposition to less than 50 points and 10-1 when holding its opponent between 30-39 percent shooting (33.3) from the field.

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 18th 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 Saturday's game against Green Bay ranked 31st in the nation in turnovers per game (11.6). UIC has turned the ball over on just 18.3 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 (.396) for the majority of the season. The Flames have also been particularly stingy around the perimeter. UIC is allowing its opponents to shoot just 29.6 percent from beyond the three-point arc, which ranks 30th in the nation, and is the second-lowest mark in the Horizon League, behind only Milwaukee.

With a Win Over Cleveland State, UIC Would...
• Improve to 6-4 in Horizon League play for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign • Move to 10-1 at the Pavilion this season • Secure the regular season split against the Vikings • Snap an 11-game losing streak versus Cleveland State • Tally its first four-game Horizon League winning streak since the 2007-08 season • Improve to 5-1 in its past six games • Secure head coach Howard Moore's30th career win

Scouting the Vikings
Cleveland State is 10-12 on the season, with a 2-6 mark in Horizon League play - the Vikings have dropped four-straight League decisions. Freshman guard Bryn Forbes is CSU's active leading scorer, averaging 12.1 points per game while shooting nearly 43 percent (.426) from the floor. Sophomore point guard Charlie Lee has chipped in 10.7 points per contest to go along with 5.0 assists per game. Senior forward Tim Kamczyc has contributed 9.3 points per outing.

Leading scorer Anton Grady (13.7 ppg) has been sidelined since early December with a knee (meniscus) injury. The Vikings are coached by former Kent State and Rutgers mentor Gary Waters, who is in his seventh year at the helm.

CSU ranks in the top-five of the Horizon League in scoring offense (64.0 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (.346) and steals per game (7.8).

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 gets underway. The first-year transfer from UCF is averaging 10.7 ppg and 5.7 rpg in Horizon League play, while shooting 48.1 percent (37-77) from the floor. His rebounding numbers rank second among all Horizon League newcomers.

Seeking the Winning Formula
In the 14 UIC victories this season, the Flames have held their opponents to just 51.8 points per game and 35.7 percent shooting, and dished out an average of 12.9 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 59.2 points per game, which would represent the lowest point average for its opponents in school history, and ranks 39th in the country.
• UIC currently ranks 18th in the nation in free throw percentage, at 75.2 percent. The Flames have shot 75 percent or better from the charity stripe in 13 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 18.3 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 9-1 when leading at halftime, and 6-1 when out-rebounding its opponents.
• UIC leads the Horizon League in defensive field goal percentage (.396), a mark that also ranks 50th in the nation.
• The Flames are 9-1 at the Pavilion this season, including Horizon League home wins over Youngstown State (1/2/13), Loyola (1/16/13), Milwaukee (1/23/13) and Green Bay (1/31/13).

Even More on the Flames
• Senior point guard Gary Talton is averaging a team-high 13.2 points per game, with a total of 290 points on the season. He is also the team leader in free throws made (84) and free throw percentage (.857) - Talton is shooting at an 86.2 percent clip from the charity stripe for his two-year career.
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes is scoring 10.8 points per game, and is the team leader in steals (29). He enters Saturday's game against Cleveland State averaging 3.6 rebounds per contest.
• To go along with his 10.5 points per contest, junior forward Hayden Humes is averaging a team-high 5.7 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from three.
• Senior center Josh Crittle is averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game on a 48.1 percent (37-77) effort from the field during Horizon League play. The UCF transfer has scored in double figures in six-of the Flames' nine 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 five games after seeing action in just four-of the first 17 contests. During that stretch, Kelley is averaging 5.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg in an average of 24.8 minutes per contest. Kelley has led UIC in rebounding in two-of the past four 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-22 contests. In home games, the Dallas native is averaging 4.5 assists per contest, and has posted a stellar 2:8 assist/turnover ratio (45 assists, 16 turnovers).
• Dating back to last season, Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 25-of the last 29 contests, including nine-straight.
• Sophomore guard Joey Millerhas started three-of the last four games after coming off the bench in each of the first 18 contests. His playing time as a starter (16.3 mpg) is nearly identical to his minutes played (16.8 mpg) as a bench player.

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 Crittlewas 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 Cleveland State
The UIC men's basketball team committed 12 first-half turnovers, and Cleveland State's Tim Kamczyc scored 13 second half points, keying the Vikings to a 60-50 win over the Flames in a Horizon League game at the Wolstein Center on Jan. 7.

Seniors Josh Crittle and Gary Taltoneach chipped in 10 points to lead UIC offensively. Cleveland State saw three players score in double figures, led by freshman Bryn Forbes' 14 points. UIC committed 18 turnovers, its second-highest total of the season. The Flames also converted 14 field goals, a season-low mark.

The Vikings quickly built a 15-point (38-23) lead, less than five minutes into the second half. UIC chipped away at the deficit, pulling within 10 points, 46-36, with 7:30 remaining. The Flames also pulled within single digits three times in the final 4:47, but could draw no closer. The Vikings scored 19 points off turnovers, and held a 32-30 edge on the boards, including nine offensive rebounds.