Feb. 12, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-19, 0-10) begins a two-game road swing through northeast Ohio, beginning at second-place Cleveland State on Thursday night. The Vikings bested the Flames by a score of 74-64 in Chicago on Jan. 22 and haven’t lost since, carrying a six-game win streak. Cleveland State owns the all-time series advantage against UIC with a record of 40-35 and have won 13 of the past 14 meetings. The last time UIC defeated CSU in Cleveland was on Dec. 27, 2006.
Last Time Out
The Flames hung tough with the Horizon League’s top team last Wednesday in an 81-70 loss at Green Bay. UIC trailed the Phoenix by three points at halftime and knotted the score with just over 11 minutes to play. After a 7-0 Green Bay run, the Flames fought their way back and pulled to within three with 8:53 left on the clock. The Phoenix quickly jumped back up by seven points and held at least a two-possession lead for the remainder of the game. Green Bay benefitted from 21 more free throw attempts than UIC (41-20) and was whistled for 15 less fouls (30-15).
Scouting the Vikings
Second-place Cleveland State enters the midweek matchup with an overall record of 17-9 and a Horizon League mark of 8-3. The Vikings currently ride a six-game win streak that began on Jan. 22 when CSU defeated UIC, 74-64. They tout five players who average double figures led by sophomore Bryn Forbes at 16.2 points per game. Aside from Oakland’s Travis Bader, Forbes has the most made threes in the conference with 67 and shoots 43 percent from downtown. As a team, CSU is shooting 42 percent from behind the arc, which ranks second in the nation behind Duke.
Oh So Close
In six of UIC’s last eight games, the Flames have either been in the lead or tied with less than 11 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 eight 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 10 Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 107-75. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 115-77 and have not been outdone in this category in league play thus far. UIC ranks first in the conference in offensive rebounds with 11.5 per game in league affairs only.
Senior Kelsey Barlow is one of just two players in the Horizon League to lead his team in points, assists and steals. The other is preseason Player of the Year Kendrick Perry of Youngstown State. Barlow also ranks second on the team blocked shots and third in rebounds. On top of that, he is the conference’s lone player to average more than 14 points, five rebounds and three assists per game.
Harks Doubles Up
Senior Jordan Harks posted his third double-double of the season against Green Bay last Wednesday with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Harks is now one of just eight Horizon League players to tally three or more double-doubles this year. The 6-foot-8 forward matched two career-highs against the Phoenix, sinking eight field goals and dishing out three assists.
Robo Cop to the Rescue
Sophomore Jake Wiegand, aka Robo Cop, has found himself a spot in the starting lineup during the past seven games and has provided UIC with a much needed spark. In the past seven outings, Wiegand is averaging 10.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He is shooting 21-of-26 (.808) from the foul line in the same timeframe. He also holds the third-highest offensive rebounding total in conference games this season with 29.
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 87-of-139 (62.6%) from the floor, which ranks second among all Horizon League players. Harks has shot 50 percent or better in 19 of his 24 games and if the season ended today, his 62.6 percent shooting clip would rank third on UIC’s all-time single-season leaderboard.
What Can Brown Do For You?
Junior Marc Brown has taken his offensive game to the next level this season increasing his scoring average by 6.7 points per game and has bettered his three-point shooting by 12 percentage points (.242 to .361). His 12.7 points-per-game average in league games leads the team and ranks 15th in the conference. Brown has already scored 109 more points than last year’s total and needs 15 more to reach 700 for his career. He also stands as the only player to start all 24 games on this year’s team.
Birt’s the Word
Freshman Pat Birt poured in a career-high 16 points in the Flames’ most recent outing at Green Bay last Wednesday as he went 3-of-3 from behind the arc. Three treys equals a career-best Birt set earlier in the season at Oakland on Jan. 25. Birt is now shooting 80 percent from the outside in his last six games.
Senior Hayden Humes owns 117 career made threes during his time at UIC, which ranks 10th all-time on the Flames’ career leaderboard. His 39.5 career shooting percentage currently stands as the ninth-best mark on UIC’s Top-10 list. Humes also needs just 81 more points to reach 1,000 for his combined years with Toledo and UIC.
Senior Hayden Humes is probable for action against Cleveland State after suffering an eye injury during practice on Jan. 23. Lance Whitaker underwent successful ACL surgery in late December and will miss the rest of the 2013-14 season.