Men's Basketball Faces Detroit in Motor City Thursday

Feb. 2, 2011


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Detroit Basketball   Horizon League Basketball   Flame Throwers

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» The Flames will be looking to secure their second-straight Horizon League win, after defeating visiting Youngstown State (83-61) last Saturday, UIC's first conference victory.

» Senior guard Robo Kreps drilled his 200th career three-pointer against Youngstown State, becoming the fifth player in program history to accomplish the feat. He enters Thursday's contest at Detroit with 1,433 career points, just 25 tallies short of moving into ninth-place on the all-time scoring list.

» Senior forward Brad Birton posted his second-straight double-double with a career-high tying 14 points and career-best 14 rebounds against Youngstown State. All six of Birton's double-digit scoring outputs have come in Horizon League play.

» UIC is the top-ranked offensive rebounding team in the Horizon League, averaging nearly 14 offensive boards (13.7) per game. The Flames also lead the league in rebounding margin (+6.1) during conference play.

» Seniors Paul Carter, Robo Kreps and K.C. Robbins combined to score 51 points and corral 25 rebounds, but visiting Detroit shot 59.3 percent from the field in the second half, and outlasted UIC, 72-69, at the UIC Pavilion on Jan. 8. Robbins scored a career high 17 points and pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds en route to his second-career double-double.

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.

Detroit: Ray McCallum, who has also served as the head coach at both Ball State and Houston, is in his third season as the mentor at Detroit.

In his second season at UDM, McCallum directed the best turnaround in school history leading the Titans to a 20-14 record and a berth in the Horizon League championship semi-finals. The 20 victories marked a 13-win improvement from his first season and represented Detroit's first 20-win campaign since 2001.

Ball State posted a 126-76 record during McCallum's seven-year tenure, as he directed the Cardinals to two NCAA Tournament appearances (1995, 2000) and an NIT berth (1998), and became the first coach in Ball State history to post seven consecutive winning seasons.

UIC is 6-16 (1-9 Horizon) on the season, including a 1-9 record in true road games. The Flames are coming off an 83-61 win over Detroit at the UIC Pavilion on Jan. 29.

Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 14.9 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 70 assists. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.1 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 10th.

In Horizon League play, Carter ranks 11th in the conference in scoring (13.7 ppg) and second in rebounding, at 8.6 caroms per game. He is averaging 6.2 defensive rebounds per contest in UIC's 10 Horizon League games.

UIC is averaging 63.0 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 68.4 points per contest. In Horizon League play, UIC leads the conference in both offensive rebounds (13.7 rpg) and rebounding margin (+6.1).

Detroit is 11-12 (5-6 Horizon) on the season, 6-4 at home, and has lost two-straight games. The Titans dropped an 85-74 decision at Green Bay last Sunday.

Freshman guard Ray McCallum, the son of Detroit head coach Ray McCallum, is leading the Titans offensively, scoring 14.5 points per game, while shooting nearly 45 percent (.444) from the field. Chase Simon (12.1 ppg), Eli Holman (11.6) and Chris Blake (10.9) have all joined McCallum in double figures.

Holman leads the Horizon League in rebounding, averaging 10.1 caroms per game -- he has recorded 10 double-doubles, including five in Horizon League play. In conference games, Nick Minnerath has also added 12.2 points per game, good for 17th in the Horizon League. McCallum is averaging 4.6 assists per conference game, which ranks third.

In Horizon League action, Detroit ranks second in the conference in scoring offense (73.5 ppg), while leading the league in field goal percentage (.481), blocked shots (6.3 bpg) and defensive rebounds (23.6 rpg).

Seniors Paul Carter, Robo Kreps and K.C. Robbins combined to score 51 points and corral 25 rebounds, but visiting Detroit shot 59.3 percent from the field in the second half, and outlasted the Flames, 72-69 at the UIC Pavilion on Jan. 8.

Carter recorded his sixth double-double of the season, and his third-straight in Horizon League play, scoring a team-high 19 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Robbins scored a career high 17 points and pulled down a season-high 12 rebounds en route to his second-career double-double, while Kreps chipped in 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

Detroit was led by freshman Ray McCallum, who scored 17 points - he was joined in double figures by Jason Calliste (16 points) and LaMarcus Lowe, who had 11 points, five rebounds and six blocks.

The Flames out-rebounded the Titans 39-34, and limited Detroit to just a 33.3 percent shooting effort in the first half, but saw the Titans score 47 second half points on 16 field goals.

UIC played without the services of senior center Darrin Williams, who was sidelined with an arm injury. Senior forward Brad Birton and Detroit's Eli Holman were both ejected with 5:19 remaining in the first half after getting into an on-court altercation.

Quoting coach Moore on Jan. 8: "Our seniors really stepped up; and I really challenged them at the end of the Wright State game. Obviously we didn't get the results we were looking for, but it was good to see those guys respond to their coach. Detroit is a very good team; they did a nice job changing the momentum in the second half, and showed some resiliency."

Detroit leads the all-time series against UIC 22-13. The Flames and Titans split the regular season series last year, with both teams picking up wins on their respective home floor.

The series began in the 1994-95 campaign, with Detroit winning the first three meetings. Dating back to the 2006-07 season, UIC has won six-of the last nine contests.

Senior forward Brad Birton recorded his second-straight double-double with a career-high tying 14 points and career-best 14 rebounds ... Senior Paul Carter also chipped in 14 points, and corralled 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double ... Senior guard Robo Kreps scored 12 points, dished out six assists against zero turnovers and had five rebounds ... Senior guard Dipanjot Singh chipped in 11 points and pulled down a career-high six rebounds ... UIC led for the second-straight game at halftime, 34-32 ... The Flames dominated the boards, 53-26, including 18 offensive rebounds ... UIC's 53 rebounds marked a season-high, and the and the most single-game rebounds since corralling 55 boards against Georgia Tech on Jan. 27, 2007 ... The Flames scored 49 points in the second half, their largest one-half total since scoring 52 points in the second half in defeating Rhode Island (74-66) on Nov. 21 ... UIC's largest lead was by 31 points (79-48) with 2:59 remaining ... The Flames out-scored the Penguins in the paint (36-24), off turnovers (21-11), in second-chance points (21-4), and through both the fast break (8-7) and bench (28-21).

Senior forward Brad Birton strung together the best two games of his career during UIC's homestand last week. He recorded his first-two double-doubles of the season against Cleveland State and Youngstown State, twice equaling his career-high in both points and rebounds. Birton was the Flames' leading scorer and rebounder in both contests. In conference play, Birton has posted all six of his double-digit scoring outputs, and four-of his top-seven rebounding efforts. Overall, Birton is averaging 9.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on a near 60 percent (.563) effort from the field in Horizon League action.

When scanning the box score and play-by-play from UIC's convincing 83-61 win over Youngstown State last Saturday, one main thing sticks out: the production from the Flames' seniors. The five seniors that play a primary role in UIC's rotation (Paul Carter, Brad Birton, Robo Kreps, Dipanjot Singh and K.C. Robbins) combined to score 59 points, and pull down 37 rebounds.

Senior forward Paul Carter leads the Flames with nine double-doubles on the season, including six 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), Loyola (1/22/11) and Youngstown State (1/29/11).

Senior guard Robo Kreps passed the 1,400 career-point plateau at Loyola (1/22/11), scoring a game-high 19 points. He enters Thursday's game with 1,433 career points, just 25 tallies short of moving into a tie for ninth-place all-time alongside Mark Miller (1995-98). With 67 more points, Kreps would also become the ninth player in program history to score 1,500 or more points.

UIC enters Thursday's contest as the Horizon League's top offensive rebounding team (in conference games), averaging 13.7 offensive boards per game. It has been a collective effort on the glass, with Brad Birton (3.1 rpg; 4th), Paul Carter (2.4 rpg; 6th) and Paris Carter (2.1 rpg; 9th) all ranking in the top-10 of the league in offensive rebounds during Horizon League play.

As mentioned, UIC has out-rebounded 15-of its 22 opponents this season, including 10-of the last 11, and nine-of-10 Horizon League foes.

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 12 occasions.

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.