Feb. 24, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (5-23, 0-14) will participate in its final road game of the 2013-14 regular season on Tuesday night as they travel to Milwaukee (16-12, 6-8) for a 7 p.m. CT tip. The Flames owned a 13-point halftime lead against the Panthers on Jan. 16, in Chicago, but Milwaukee outscored UIC in the second half by a margin of 44-27 to claim a 67-63 victory. Milwaukee holds a decisive advantage in the all-time series against the Flames with a record of 41-23. UIC has dropped 12 of the its last 13 tilts against the Panthers and has not won in Milwaukee since March 1, 2008.
Last Time Out
The Flames mounted a furious comeback against Oakland this past Friday, pulling to within eight points after being down 27 early in the second half. Over a two minute and 31 second span, UIC executed a 16-0 run that included four threes and eight straight points from senior Hayden Humes, which cut Oakland’s lead down to 72-64 with 2:35 left to play. It was too little too late for UIC as the Grizzlies converted from the foul line down the stretch and ended the game on an 8-2 run. Nine first-half treys for Oakland propelled them to a 45-24 halftime lead, including four from Travis Bader as he finished the night with a game-high 28 points.
Scouting the Panthers
Milwaukee enters Tuesday’s contest with an overall record of 16-12 and a Horizon League mark of 6-8. The Panthers currently sit in a four-way-tie for fifth place in the conference standings with Youngstown State, Oakland and Detroit. UWM has lost its last three outings, but remain one of just two HL teams to have bested Green Bay, the regular season champions. The Panthers are led by Jordan Aaron and Matt Tiby who average 14.3 and 12.5 points per game, respectively.
HL Tourney talk
UIC is locked into the No. 9 seed for the 2014 Horizon League Tournament and will travel to the No. 4 seed during first-round action. If the season ended today, the Flames would play Wright State on Tuesday, March 4. Green Bay clinched the No. 1 seed and will host the tournament beginning on March 7, with quarterfinal games. Last season, No. 5 seed UIC won its first-round contest against No. 8 seed Cleveland State at home by a final of 82-59.
Oh So Close
In seven of UIC’s last 12 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 12 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 14 Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 140-110. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 158-116 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 4.1 assists per game. Barlow owns six 20-point outings this year and has reached double-digits on 20 occasions.
Humes’ Second Half
Senior Hayden Humes spearheaded a near-UIC comeback last Friday against Oakland with 16 second-half points. Twelve of those 16 points came from four three-pointers, which ties a career-high. During a 72-second stretch in the second half, Humes rattled off eight straight points in part of a 16-0 run by UIC. The senior now has 123 career threes during his time with the Flames and needs just 48 more points to reach 1,000 for his career.
Harks on the Boards
Senior Jordan Harks tied a career-high with 15 rebounds at YSU on Feb. 15. That total 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 5.6 boards per game and fifth in HL games only (6.7).
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 quadrupled his rebounding totals (145-36) and more than tripled his point totals (217-62) from last year, playing 14.2 more minutes per outing. Wiegand has improved even more during the conference season as he ranks fourth in offensive rebounds per game (2.6) and fifth in free throw shooting percentage (.830).
Sure Shot Harks
Senior Jordan Harks has been a model of efficiency this season shooting 98-of-159 (61.6%) from the floor, which ranks second among all Horizon League players. Harks has shot 50 percent or better in 22 of his 28 games and if the season ended today, his 61.6 percent shooting clip would rank third on UIC’s all-time single-season leaderboard.
Barlow with the Dish
Senior Kelsey Barlow tied a career-high with eight assists this past Friday against Oakland and now has recorded six or more helpers in three straight outings. The 6-foot-5 point guard ranks fifth in the Horizon League in assists per game with an average of 4.1 and has led UIC in that category in 19 games this season.