Flames Return Home to Face Titans on Tuesday Night
Feb. 17, 2014
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-21, 0-12) returns home from a three-game road stint to host Detroit (12-15, 5-7) on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT and will serve as UIC’s first home game since Feb. 1. Detroit edged the Flames earlier in the season on Jan. 29 by a final of 74-68, after UIC had come-from-behind to knot the score with less than six minutes to play. The Titans hold the all-time series advantage against UIC with a record of 27-14. Tuesday’s game will broadcast live on ESPN3 with audio coverage available on ESPN 1000.
Last Time Out
The Flames dropped another heartbreaker this past Saturday on the road at Youngstown State, falling to the Penguins by a final of 59-56. UIC never trailed in the first half and eventually gave up the lead with 3:24 left to play. YSU senior Kendrick Perry torched the Flames for a game-high 31 points, including 23 in the second half. Youngstown State benefitted from 30 free throw attempts compared to just four for UIC as the Penguins totaled a mere eight fouls in sharp contrast to the Flames’ 23 whistles. The Flames were paced by senior Kelsey Barlow with 17 points, his 19th double-digit game of the season, and freshman Pat Birt with 15 points. Senior Jordan Harks grabbed 15 rebounds to tie a career high.
Scouting the TITANS
Detroit enters Tuesday’s matchup with an overall record of 12-15 and a Horizon League mark of 5-7. The Titans have played in three straight games that have been decided by two points or less. Detroit lost its most recent outing at Oakland (83-82) this past Saturday in overtime. Junior Juwan Howard, Jr. poured in a game-high 33 points as he leads Detroit in scoring with a season average of 18.6 points per game. Howard put up 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting on the Jan. 20 meeting versus UIC. Prior to the Oakland defeat, the Titans claimed a one-point victory in overtime against YSU and two-point win at third-place Valparaiso.
Oh So Close
In seven of UIC’s last 10 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 five of those contests. Six of those 10 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 12 Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 113-93. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 133-100 and have been outdone only twice in this category in league play thus far. UIC ranks second in the conference in offensive rebounds with 11.4 per game in league affairs only. Detroit ranks first with an average of 11.5 rpg.
Senior Kelsey Barlow is the only player in the Horizon League to lead his team in points, assists and steals. He also ranks second on the team in 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 on the Boards
Senior Jordan Harks tied a career-high with 15 rebounds at YSU last Saturday. His total now stands as the highest mark in the Howard Moore era and the best for UIC since Feb. 27, 2009 when 7-footer Scott VanderMeer grabbed 17 boards. Harks has led the Flames in rebounding on nine occasions, a team-high, and owns five double-digit carom totals this season, one of only seven conference players to do so. He now ranks 10th in the Horizon League with an average of 5.7 boards per game and fifth in HL games only (7.0).
McGuire Shines in First Start
Freshman Markese McGuire made his first collegiate start this past Saturday at Youngstown State. The sharp-shooter did not disappoint as he opened the night with a three-ball 17 seconds into the game. McGuire drained a second triple at the 10:49 mark of the first half, tying a season-best two made threes. The Elkhart, Ind., native did set a career-high in minutes played with 31.
Sophomore Jake Wiegand is arguably one of the most improved players in the Horizon League this season. The 6-foot-8 power forward has more than tripled his point (202-62) and rebounding totals (133-36) from last year, playing 14.3 more minutes per outing. Wiegand has improved even more during the conference season as he ranks fourth in offensive rebounds per game (2.5) and sixth in free throw shooting percentage (.833).