Game #24: Flames Travel to First-Place Valpo Tuesday Night

Senior point guard Gary Talton
Senior point guard Gary Talton

Feb. 4, 2013

UIC at Valparaiso (Game Notes)Get Acrobat Reader

Game #24: Flames Travel to First-Place Valpo Tuesday Night
UIC Flames (14-9/5-5 HL) at Valparaiso Crusaders (17-6/7-2 HL)

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 • Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC) • 7:00 p.m. CST
Radio: ESPN Chicago (WMVP-AM 1000)/ • Video: Horizon League Network
Radio Talent: Dave Juday (PBP)/Kenny Williams (Color)/Jonathan Hood (Pregame/Halftime)
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 29-56 (3rd season)
Valparaiso Head Coach: Bryce Drew • Record at Valpo/Overall: 39-18 (2nd season)
In-Game Twitter Updates: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
January 9, 2013
UIC Pavilion
Flames Outlasted by Preseason Favorite Valpo, 75-70
Senior point guard Gary Talton poured in a career-high 25 points, and the Flames led by as many as nine points in the second half, but preseason Horizon League favorite Valparaiso shot 56.5 percent from the field in the second half to outlast the UIC men's basketball team at the Pavilion, 75-70.

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 seventh-best 14.8 ppg. Has scored in double figures 20 times this season, and 41 times during his two-year career. Has dished out 89 assists against 56 turnovers on the season. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#3 Joey Miller • SG
Has appeared in all 23 games this season, and started four-of the last five 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 six 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 (1/23/13). Has pulled down a combined 30 boards in the past five Horizon League games (6.0 rpg). Scored eight points against Cleveland State last Saturday. UIC's lone four-year senior.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
Enters Tuesday's game as Flames' third-leading scorer. Shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 39.6 percent from three. Has led the Flames in scoring six times, and been the leading rebounder on nine occasions. Native of Valparaiso, Ind., and attended Valparaiso High School. 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 (5.5 rpg). Averaging 2.2 assists per game, second-most on the team. Shooting 44.9 percent from the floor in conference play. Transferred to UIC from UCF in September.

Series Information: UIC leads, 29-16
UIC owns a decisive 29-16 all-time series lead over Valparaiso, with the first meeting between the Flames and Crusaders taking place in the 1979-80 season. Valpo has captured seven-straight wins in the series, including a 75-70 win at the UIC Pavilion last month (1/9/13). Between the 1983-84 and 1995-96 campaigns, UIC compiled a 22-4 record against the Crusaders.

Setting the Scene
The UIC men's basketball team (14-9, 5-5 Horizon) will look to capture its second-straight Horizon League road victory Tuesday, when the Flames take on first-place Valparaiso (17-6, 7-2 Horizon) at the Athletics-Recreation Center (ARC) beginning at 7:00 p.m. CST. The Flames are coming off a 77-66 loss against visiting Cleveland State last Saturday, while Valpo upended Milwaukee, 71-40, on Feb. 1.

Back on the Horizon
UIC is in its 12th season of Horizon League play - the Flames have compiled a record of 84-112 (.429) 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 Come Up Short versus CSU, 77-66
The UIC men's basketball team dropped a 77-66 decision against visiting Cleveland State at the Pavilion last Saturday, falling for just the second time at home this season. CSU built a 22-point second half lead, and held off a commanding run by the Flames down the stretch to pick up its first Horizon League road win of the season.

Senior point guard Gary Taltonscored a team-high 16 points, pacing a group of four Flames in double figures. Cleveland State was led by Marlin Mason, who poured in 22 points on eight field goals. The Vikings held a 38-24 advantage on the boards, and their bench out-scored UIC's reserves, 37-17.

Cleveland State led 34-26 at halftime, and jumped ahead by 22 points (58-36) with 10:08 remaining. UIC went on a 13-0 run over a 4:25 span late in the second half, pulling within 60-53 coming out of the final media timeout (3:53). But Cleveland State forced two-straight turnovers, and UIC didn't convert another field goal until the 1:13 mark, after the Vikings had built their lead back to double-digits. CSU recorded its 12th-straight win over UIC, dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.

Onto the Month of February
The Flames 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 Tuesday's game ranked seventh in the conference in scoring (14.8 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.

Homeward Bound
For the fifth time in his UIC career, junior forward Hayden Humeswill be facing his hometown Division I team in Valparaiso. Humes attended Valparaiso High School before beginning his Division I college basketball career at Toledo, and eventually transferring to UIC. In four games against the Crusaders (one at Toledo, three at UIC), Humes has averaged 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. Below is a summary of Humes' career performances against his hometown team:

• 12/11/10 (at Toledo): 10 points, 14 rebounds
• 1/21/12 (UIC Pavilion): 11 points, 6 rebounds
• 2/14/12 (ARC, Valparaiso, Ind.): 15 points, 2 rebounds
• 1/9/13 (UIC Pavilion): 12 points, 1 rebound

Humes enters Tuesday's game with 491 career points (at UIC), just nine tallies short of 500, and 294 career rebounds, just six caroms shy of 300 for his two-year career.

What to Watch For
A pair of teams that win with defense. The Flames are the Horizon League's top-ranked team in terms of field goal percentage defense (.401), and Valpo enters Tuesday's game ranked second in the category (.405). UIC has held eight opponents under 35 percent shooting (11 under 40 percent), and limited seven opponents to fewer than 50 points.

Meanwhile, the Crusaders are surrendering just 60.7 points per game, and have held each of their visiting Horizon League opponents to 63 points or less.

With a Win Over Valparaiso, UIC Would...
• Improve to 6-5 in Horizon League play for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign
• Collect its fourth road win of the season, including its second Horizon League road victory
• Secure the regular season split against the Crusaders
• Snap a seven-game losing streak versus Valpo
• Tally its first win at the ARC since Feb. 15, 2009
• Improve to 5-2 in its past seven games
• Secure head coach Howard Moore's30th career win

Gettin' Defensive
UIC is on its way to enjoying its most successful team defensive season in program history. As mentioned, 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 enters Tuesday's game as the Horizon League leader in free throw percentage (.756), a mark that also ranks 13th in the nationally. 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 Tuesday's game at Valpo ranked 35th 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 (.401) for the majority of the season. The Flames have also been particularly stingy around the perimeter. UIC is allowing its opponents to shoot just 29.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc, which ranks 35th in the nation.

Scouting the Crusaders
Valparaiso, the preseason Horizon League favorite, is 17-6 on the season, with a 7-2 mark in Horizon League play - the Crusaders have won seven-of their last eight. Preseason First-Team All-Horizon League selection Ryan Broekhoff has spearheaded Valpo's offensive attack, averaging 16.6 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds per contest. Center Kevin Van Wijk is averaging 13.1 points per game, while first-year point guard LaVonte Dority has chipped in 10.9 points per contest. The Crusaders, who are 11-1 at home this season, are coached by second-year mentor and former Valpo letterwinner Bryce Drew.

Valparaiso leads the Horizon League in scoring margin (+9.3), field goal percentage (.465), three-point field goal percentage (.355) and rebounding margin (+5.2).

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 5.5 rpg in Horizon League play, while shooting 44.9 percent (40-89) 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 nine losses, UIC opponents are shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and scoring an average of 72.8 points per contest. Additionally, in the setbacks, the Flames have distributed 10.9 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 60.0 points per game, which would represent the lowest point average for its opponents in school history, and ranks 41st in the country.
• UIC currently ranks 13th in the nation in free throw percentage, at 75.6 percent. The Flames have shot 75 percent or better from the charity stripe in 14 games this season.
• The Flames are averaging only 11.6 turnovers per game, which ranks 35th 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 (.401).
• The Flames are 3-6 on the road this season, with non-conference road wins over Northern Illinois (11/27/12) and Northwestern (12/1/12), and a Horizon League victory at Wright State (1/26/13).

Even More on the Flames
• Senior point guard Gary Talton is averaging a team-high 13.3 points per game, with a total of 306 points on the season. He is also the team leader in steals (39), free throws made (93) and free throw percentage (.861) - Talton is shooting at an 86.4 percent clip from the charity stripe for his two-year career.
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes is scoring 10.9 points per game. He has posted 12 double-digit scoring outputs, including 14 points against Cleveland State last Saturday.
• To go along with his 10.6 points per contest, junior forward Hayden Humes is averaging a team-high 5.5 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from three.
• Senior center Josh Crittle is averaging 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game on a 44.9 percent (40-89) effort from the field during Horizon League play. The UCF transfer has scored in double figures in seven-of the Flames' 10 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 six games after seeing action in just four-of the first 17 contests. During that stretch, Kelley is averaging 6.2 ppg and 5.5 rpg in an average of 25.8 minutes per contest.
• Dating back to last season, senior point guard Gary Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 26-of the last 30 contests, including 10-straight.
• Talton has handed out at least four assists in 12 games.
• Sophomore guard Joey Millerhas started four-of the last five 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 Valpo
Senior point guard Gary Taltonpoured in a career-high 25 points, and the Flames led by as many as nine points in the second half, but preseason Horizon League favorite Valparaiso shot 56.5 percent from the field in the second half to outlast the UIC men's basketball team at the Pavilion, 75-70, on Jan. 9.

Talton's game-high 25 points was bolstered by an 11-for-11 effort from the free throw line. He was joined in double figures by senior center Josh Crittle, who scored 16 points, and junior forward Hayden Humes, who chipped in 12. Valpo's Ryan Broekhoff doubled up the Flames with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and center Kevin Van Wijk scored 16 points, including 14 in the first half.

UIC was a perfect 18-for-18 from the charity stripe in the game, while Valpo was 25-of-30. The Flames scored 23 points off turnovers, but the Crusaders' bench produced 28 points to UIC's 11. There were a combined 18 ties and lead changes in the game.