Feb. 22, 2012
► UIC will begin its final regular season Horizon League homestand Thursday, when the Flames entertain Milwaukee at the UIC Pavilion beginning at 7 p.m. CST. The Flames are coming off a 69-44 loss at Butler Tuesday night, while Milwaukee has been idle since last Saturday (Feb. 18), when the Panthers defeated visiting Fairfield, 67-63 in BracketBusters action.
► UIC will look to secure the regular-season split versus Milwaukee -- the Panthers posted a 73-71 overtime win over the Flames at U.S. Cellular Arena on Dec. 3.
► The Flames are 7-5 at the Pavilion this season, including a 3-4 Horizon League home record. UIC suffered a 70-42 defeat at the hands of Cleveland State in its last home game (Feb. 5).
► UIC currently sits in sole possession of ninth place in the Horizon League standings, while Milwaukee is tied for fifth, alongside Youngstown State. The top-two seeds will receive byes to the quarterfinals, while the No. 3-10 seeds will play first-round Horizon League Tournament games (Tuesday, Feb. 28) on the campus of the higher seed.
► NEXT UP: UIC will celebrate Senior Day and play its final regular season Horizon League game Saturday, when Green Bay visits the Pavilion beginning at 1 p.m. CST. Seniors Matt Bush, Paris Carter, Dorian Tyler and Darrin Williams will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony.
UIC: Howard Moore (Wisconsin, `95) is in his second season as the head coach at UIC. He spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping the Badgers to five-straight NCAA tournament berths. The Chicago native also served assistant coaching stints at Loyola (2004-05), Ball State (2003-04) and Bradley (1999-2003). Moore picked up his 15th head coaching win last Saturday at Eastern Illinois.
Milwaukee: Rob Jeter, the 2011 Horizon League Coach of the Year, is in his seventh season as the mentor at Milwaukee. Jeter guided the Panthers to last season's Horizon League Championship game, and along with Howard Moore, is a Bo Ryan (Wisconsin head coach) disciple.
» Milwaukee was picked to finish fourth in the preseason Horizon League poll, conducted by the League's head coaches, media panel and sports information directors.
» Senior Kaylon Williams, a preseason All-Horizon League First-Team selection, is the Panthers' leading scorer (10.8 ppg) and averages a League-best 6.4 assists per game.
» James Haarsma (10.4 ppg) and preseason All-Horizon League honoree Tony Meier (10.4 ppg) are both averaging double figures in scoring -- Haarsma has upped his scoring average to a team-best 11.4 points per game during League play.
» The Panthers are 5-9 on the road this season, including a 2-3 Horizon League road record. Milwaukee defeated regular-season champion Valparaiso (57-55) at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Dec. 29, and outlasted rival Green Bay at the Resch Center, 81-75, on Feb. 4.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
UIC boasts two-of the Horizon League's top-15 scorers, in junior point guard Gary Talton (12.0 ppg; 12th) and junior guard Daniel Barnes (10.9; 13th) ... Senior center Darrin Williams ranks seventh in the League in rebounding (6.4 rpg), fourth in blocks (1.4 bpg) and fifth overall in field goal percentage (.553) ... Talton leads the Horizon League in free throw percentage (.860), and is seventh in assists (3.1 apg) ... Barnes is averaging 2.3 three-point field goals per game, the third-best mark in the League, and ranks fifth in the Horizon League in steals (1.5 spg) ... Sophomore forward Hayden Humes ranks seventh in the League in three-point field goal percentage (.407) ... Talton is scoring a Horizon League fifth-best 13.9 points per League game ... The Flames enter Thursday's contest leading the Horizon League in offensive rebounding both overall (12.6 rpg) and in conference play ... At the Pavilion, UIC is averaging 60.6 points per game while shooting 40.4 percent from the field, including a 37.8 percent mark from three-point range ... Talton (12.6 ppg), Barnes (12.4 ppg) and Williams (10.2 ppg) are all averaging double figures in scoring in games at the Pavilion.
Milwaukee has recorded eight-straight wins over the Flames, dating back to the 2007-08 campaign. Overall, Milwaukee leads the all-time series, 37-22. The Panthers have recorded three-straight wins over UIC at the Pavilion.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
With a win over Milwaukee, UIC would...
» Collect its ninth win of the season, tying for the most single-season victories since the 2009-10 campaign, and double its Horizon League win total (2) from last season.
» Improve to 8-5 at the UIC Pavilion this season, and record its fourth Horizon League home win.
» Snap its eight-game losing streak versus the Panthers.
» Improve to 3-4 during the month of February.
REACHING THE HOME STRETCH
Including Thursday's game versus Milwaukee, UIC has two regular season Horizon League games remaining on the schedule. If the Horizon League Tournament started today, UIC would represent the No. 9 seed, and take on fourth-seeded Detroit in the first-round at Calihan Hall next Tuesday (Feb. 28). The Titans, who are currently tied for third in the League standings alongside Cleveland State, will travel to Cleveland to take on the Vikings in a pivotal League contest Thursday night.
LAST TIME AGAINST MILWAUKEE
The Panthers posted a 73-71 overtime win over UIC at U.S. Cellular Arena on Dec. 3 -- junior point guard Gary Talton (18 points) and seniors Darrin Williams (14) and Paris Carter (10) all scored in double figures for the Flames. UWM was paced by Kyle Kelm, who scored 18 points, including an 8-for-10 effort from the free throw line. In the second half, UIC collectively shot 53.6 percent, converting 15 field goals -- the Panthers out-scored UIC 14-12 in overtime to seal the victory. Talton missed potential game-winning shots at both the end of regulation and overtime.
HUMES TRENDING FORWARD
Hayden Humes, a first-year transfer from Toledo, has become one of UIC's most reliable scoring and rebounding threats heading down the stretch of the regular season. Humes has posted double-digit scoring outputs in four-of the last six games, and led the Flames in rebounding in seven-of the last nine contests. Humes earned immediate eligibility at UIC this season, and will have two more years of eligibility remaining at the end of the 2011-12 campaign.
DOWN TO THE WIRE...
UIC's men's basketball team has seen no shortage of nail biters this season, playing a total of 12 games decided by five points or less -- the Flames have held second-half leads in nine-of their 19 losses this season.
ONE OF THE LEAGUE'S FINEST
Junior point guard Gary Talton, in his first season in a Flames' uniform, has posted double-digit scoring outputs in 13-of UIC's 16 Horizon League games, and scored in double figures 19 times overall. Of late, Talton's scoring has been bolstered by a much more efficient effort. Talton has shot at least 44 percent from the field in seven-of the past eight games -- over the past four contests, Talton is 26-of-53 (.490) from the floor.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
UIC's junior backcourt tandem of Gary Talton and Daniel Barnes continues to represent the Flames' most consistent scoring tandem. The duo has teamed to post 35 of UIC's 70 double-digit scoring performances this season.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Senior center Darrin Williams enters Thursday's game versus Milwaukee as the Flames' career active leader in points (399), rebounds (272) and blocks (46). Williams, a second-year junior college transfer from Wallace State C.C., has posted 15 double-digit scoring outputs this season, including three double-doubles. He corralled his 100th career offensive rebound at Butler Tuesday night, and with one point against Milwaukee, will score his 400th career point.
SEEKING THE WINNING FORMULA
When comparing the Flames' stats in wins and losses, the differences on the boards and in their team defense are noteworthy. In victory, UIC is holding its opponents to only 39.8 percent shooting, while losses have seen the Flames' opponents shoot 47.9 percent from the field. In wins, UIC owns a +5.4 rebounding margin, but just a +0.1 margin in defeat.