Feb. 20, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men's basketball team (5-22, 0-13) will host first-year Horizon League member Oakland (10-18, 5-8) on Friday night for the first time since Dec. 18, 1976, more than 37 years ago. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:04 p.m. CT with ESPN3 set to carry the broadcast live. The Flames seek revenge after a last-second three-pointer allowed the Grizzlies to slip past UIC, 76-75, on Jan. 25 in Rochester, Mich. UIC looks to snap its 16-game losing streak, while Oakland hopes to rebound after a one-point defeat versus Wright State last Sunday. Oakland is 5-0 in the all-time series against the Flames, including both gatherings in Chicago.
Last Time Out
The Flames dropped a closely contested home game this past Tuesday against Detroit by a final of 65-59. UIC held a nine-point lead at several moments in the first half and went into the locker still ahead by two. The Titans stormed out of the break with a 13-2 run and owned a 38-47 edge with 13 minutes left to play. The Flames kept battling and eventually knotted the score at 57-57 with 4:43 on the clock. Detroit ramped up its defensive pressure and limited UIC to a pair of free throws for the remainder of the game. It was a tale of two halves as the Flames shot 52 percent in the opening period and then just 18 percent in the second stanza.
Scouting the Grizzlies
Oakland enters the Friday night showdown with an overall record of 10-18 and a Horizon League mark of 5-8. They sit eighth in the conference standings and have lost four of their last five outings. Piloting OU is senior guard Travis Bader who averages 19.8 points per game and leads the country in made threes. Bader is also the NCAA's all-time leader in career triples, entering the game with 483. Point guard Kahlil Felder fronts the Horizon League in assists per game (6.0) and has racked up six HL Freshman of the Week awards. Junior center Corey Petros leads the league in rebounding (8.1), while senior guard Duke Mondy ranks second in the nation in steals per game (3.2).
Oh So Close
In seven of UIC's last 11 games, the Flames have either been in the lead or tied with just over five minutes left to play and have also held an advantage of at least eight or more points in six of those contests. Seven of those 11 defeats have been by six points or less.
Recapping the Jan. 25 Meeting
After a pair of made free throws by UIC freshman Pat Birt, the Flames had regained a two-point lead with 4.4 seconds remaining at Oakland on Jan. 25. That's when OU guard Duke Mondy received the in-bounds pass, dribbled the length of the court and sank the game-winning three from the top of the key as time expired. The Flames lead by as much as 13 points in the first half and secured a 12-point edge with 13:21 left in the game. Oakland took advantage of 13 UIC turnovers in the second half and converted those miscues into 24 points.
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 13 Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 120-102. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 143-109 and have been outdone only twice in this category in league play thus far.
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, 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Barlow owns six 20-point outings this year and has reached double-digits on 20 occasions.
Harks on the boards
Senior Jordan Harks tied a career-high with 15 rebounds at YSU last Saturday. That 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 10 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 Heating Up
For the second consecutive game, freshman Markese McGuire ignited UIC with a game-opening three-pointer from the left wing. The sharp-shooter from Elkhart, Ind., has started the last two games for the Flames and is shooting 7-of-11 (64%) from outside in his last five outings.
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 (208-62) and rebounding totals (136-36) from last year, playing 14.2 more minutes per outing. Wiegand has improved even more during the conference season as he ranks fifth in offensive rebounds per game (2.4) and fourth in free throw shooting percentage (.850).
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 97-of-157 (61.8%) from the floor, which ranks second among all Horizon League players. Harks has shot 50 percent or better in 21 of his 27 games and if the season ended today, his 61.8 percent shooting clip would rank third on UIC's all-time single-season leaderboard. Harks set a career-high of 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting versus Oakland on the Jan. 25 meeting.