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Men's Hoops Wraps up Regular Season at Valpo Saturday Night




Feb. 25, 2011

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Valparaiso Basketball   Horizon League Basketball   Flame Throwers

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LEADING OFF...
» The UIC men's basketball team will close out the Horizon League regular season Saturday, when the Flames travel to the Athletics-Recreation Center to take on Valparaiso. UIC will be eyeing its first conference road win of the season.

» Senior guard Robo Kreps enters Saturday's game with 296 career free throws, only four freebies away from becoming just the eighth player in school history to equal 300. Kreps, who scored his 1,500th career point against Butler on Feb. 7, also pulled down his 400th career rebound against the Bulldogs last Saturday at the UIC Pavilion.

» The last two games between the Flames and Valparaiso have been decided by a total of three points, dating back to last season. The Crusaders won both of those contests, including an 83-82 victory at the Athletics-Recreation Center last season (2/8/10).

» UIC is the top-ranked offensive rebounding team in the Horizon League, averaging more than 13 offensive boards (13.3) per game. The Flames also lead the league in rebounding margin (+5.2) during conference play.

» Senior forward Paul Carter scored a team-high 18 points to lead three Flames in double figures, but UIC dropped a 68-66 decision in overtime against visiting Valparaiso at the UIC Pavilion on Dec. 2. The Flames built as large as a 14-point lead in the second half, but the Crusaders out-scored UIC 18-6 over the final 8:40 of regulation, and held off a late rally in the extra session to tally their first Horizon League victory of the season.

UP NEXT...
UIC will open its run in the Horizon League Tournament on the road next Tuesday (March 1). The Flames' first-round opponent will be announced following the conclusion of Saturday's slate of Horizon League games.

THE COACHES
UIC: Howard Moore is in his first season as a college head coach. Moore, 37, comes to UIC after spending the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, his alma mater, under head coach Bo Ryan.

Moore joined the Badgers staff in 2005 and helped lead them to the NCAA Tournament in each of his five seasons in Madison. The team advanced past the first round of the Big Dance in each of the last four seasons and produced a memorable Sweet 16 run in 2008.

With Moore on the bench, Wisconsin posted three of the top-five winningest seasons in school history, including an historic 2007-08 campaign that saw the Badgers win a school-record 31 games en route to Big Ten regular season and tournament championships.

Under Ryan's tutelage Moore established himself as one of the top recruiters in the Big Ten by utilizing the Chicagoland area as a main pipeline for talent.

Valparaiso: The seventh-longest tenured coach in Division I basketball, the 2010-11 campaign marks Homer Drew's 22nd season as head coach at Valparaiso. A collegiate head coach for 32 seasons, Drew previously served as the head coach at Bethel (Ind.) College from 1976-1987 and at IU-South Bend during the 1987-1988 season. A nine-time Coach of the Year, Drew took over a program in 1988 that had never produced a winning record at the Division I level.

A nine-time Coach of the Year, Drew helped put Valpo basketball on the national scene by guiding the Crusaders to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including five consecutive from 1996-2000. His teams have won 20 or more games eight times in his tenure and finished above .500 in 12 of his last 15 seasons.

SCOUTING THE FLAMES
UIC is 7-22 (2-15 Horizon) on the season, including a 1-12 record in true road games. The Flames are coming off a 79-52 loss against visiting Butler last Saturday.

Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 15.8 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 85 assists. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.4 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 8.0 caroms per contest, second-best in the Horizon League. Kreps currently ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, while Carter is 10th.

In Horizon League play, Kreps (15.1; 7th) and Carter (14.4; 10th) both rank in the top-10 in the conference in scoring, while Carter is second in rebounding, at 8.1 caroms per game. He is averaging 5.4 defensive rebounds per contest in UIC's 17 Horizon League games.

UIC is averaging 62.7 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 69.0 points per contest. In Horizon League play, UIC leads the conference in both offensive rebounds (13.3 rpg) and rebounding margin (+5.2).

Kreps has scored 20 or more points on 11 occasions, which ranks second in the Horizon League behind only Cleveland State's Norris Cole. Additionally, Carter has corralled at least 10 rebounds 11 times, which ranks second in the league. Carter's eight double-doubles in Horizon League play lead the conference, and he has also pulled down at least 10 rebounds eight times, the second-best mark in the league.

SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS
Valparaiso, which enters Thursday's game against Loyola tied for third in the Horizon League standings, is 20-9 (11-5) on the season. The Crusaders are coming off an 81-80 overtime loss at Green Bay Monday night.

Brandon Wood, a First-Team All-Horizon League preseason pick, leads the Crusaders in scoring with 16.9 points per game, including 16.7 points per contest in league play. Cory Johnson, a second-team preseason honoree, is scoring 14.0 points per game, while Ryan Broekhoff has contributed 11.0 points per contest. Howard Little is averaging 10.3 points per contest during Horizon League action.

Four Crusaders are averaging at least four rebounds per game, led by Little and Broekhoff's 4.8 caroms per contest. In Horizon League play, Broekhoff has upped his average to 5.2 rebounds per game. Wood has dished out a team-high 93 assists on the season, closely followed by Erik Buggs' 87 helpers.

In conference play, the Crusaders currently rank second in field goal percentage (.476), defensive field goal percentage (.424) and three-point field goal defense (.320). Valpo also averages a league-high 8.1 steals per Horizon League game.

Wood's 16.7 points per game during Horizon League play ranks fourth overall, while Johnson (12.6) is 18th. Little is shooting 53.2 percent from the field, eighth-best in the Horizon League, while Broekhoff has tallied a 57.4 percent effort from three-point range, the top mark in the conference. Wood is averaging 2.1 steals per conference game, the second-best mark in the Horizon League.

LAST TIME AGAINST VALPO
Senior forward Paul Carter scored a team-high 18 points to lead three Flames in double figures, but UIC dropped a heartbreaking 68-66 decision in overtime against visiting Valparaiso at the UIC Pavilion (Dec. 2) in the Horizon League opener for both teams.

Carter's 18 points came on a 7-of-14 effort from the field; he was joined in double figures by senior forward Brad Birton (11 points) and junior guard Zavion Neely (10). Valpo out-scored UIC 18-6 over the final 8:40 of regulation, and held off a late rally in the extra session.

The Crusaders were led by Brandon Wood, who scored a game-high 19 points. Cory Johnson (15), Howard Little (12) and Ryan Broekhoff (10) also tallied double-digit scoring efforts.

At the under-eight (7:43) media timeout, UIC held a commanding 58-44 lead, bolstered by back-to-back field goals from junior center Darrin Williams. Valpo then held the Flames without a field goal for the ensuing 2:56, but still trailed by a score of 62-52 with 4:47 left. UIC did not score for the remainder of regulation, as the Crusaders rolled off 10-straight points. Broekhoff completed the comeback with a three-pointer with 1:01 remaining that tied the game.

Valpo scored the first six points of overtime, taking a 68-62 lead with 3:42 remaining. The Flames had two chances to extend the game, or set-up for the potential game-winning shot, but turned the ball over twice down the stretch, including with 4.4 seconds remaining.

THE SERIES
UIC owns a decisive 29-12 all-time series lead over Valparaiso, with the first meeting between the Flames and Crusaders taking place in the 1979-80 season. Valpo won both meetings last season by a total of seven points. Between the 1983-84 and 1995-96 campaigns, UIC compiled a 22-4 record against the Crusaders.

BREAKING DOWN THE BUTLER GAME
Seniors Robo Kreps (10) and Paul Carter (15) each scored in double figures, securing their respective 23rd and 25th double-digit scoring outputs of the season ... Junior center Dorian Tyler scored a season-high seven points and had two blocks ... Butler's Matt Howard scored 19 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures ... There were a combined 13 ties and lead changes in the first half, as the opening 15 minutes was a back-and-forth affair -- UIC opened up a game-high 21-17 lead with 10:34 remaining, while Butler went on a 9-2 run to claim a 32-24 advantage with just under four minutes (3:52) remaining in the opening stanza ... Butler took a 40-27 lead into the locker room at halftime. ... Butler's lead grew to 19 points (52-33) less than four minutes (16:01) into the second half, and ballooned to a game-high 30 points with 4:02 remaining ... The Bulldogs out-scored UIC 46-20 in the paint, 16-11 off turnovers, 10-7 on second-chance points and 10-0 through the fast break ... UIC's bench out-scored Butler's reserves, 26-16.

KREPS COLLECTS MORE MILESTONES
Senior guard Robo Kreps corralled his 400th career rebound against Butler, and enters this Saturday's game at Valparaiso with 296 free throws, just four freebies short of 300 for his career. Kreps has 1,563 career points, just 15 tallies short of moving into a tie for seventh-place on the all-time scoring list at UIC. With 37 more points, Kreps would become just the seventh player in program history to score 1,600 or more points.

KREPS ON A TEAR
Senior guard Robo Kreps has averaged 18.6 points per contest over UIC's last seven conference games, stringing together his best stretch during Horizon League play. Five of those games have resulted in a 20-point outbursts, including 25 points at Detroit (2/3/11) and 24 tallies against Milwaukee (2/12/11). Kreps also joined the 1,500 career-point club at Butler (2/7/11), and hit the game-winning field goal in overtime, in the Flames' 63-61 win over Green Bay (2/10/11).

DOUBLE TROUBLE
Senior forward Paul Carter leads the Flames with 11 double-doubles on the season, including a league-leading eight in Horizon League play ... Carter has tallied double dips against the College of Charleston (11/20/10), Toledo (11/28/10), Illinois State (12/11/10), Cleveland State (1/1/11), Wright State (1/6/11), Detroit (1/8/11), Green Bay (1/15/11), Loyola (1/22/11), Youngstown State (1/29/11), Wright State (2/5/11) and Butler (2/7/11).

COLLECTIVE EFFORT
UIC enters Saturday's contest as the Horizon League's top offensive rebounding team (in conference games), averaging 13.3 offensive boards per game. It has been a collective effort on the glass, with Paul Carter (2.7 rpg; 4th), Brad Birton (2.4 rpg; 6th) and Paris Carter (2.1 rpg; t-8th) all ranking in the top-10 of the league in offensive rebounds during Horizon League play.

CONTROLLING THE BOARDS
UIC has recorded a rebounding advantage in 19 of its 29 games this season, including 13-of the last 17, and in 13-of-18 Horizon League games.

CARTER'S CAROMS
Senior forward Paul Carter has been the main catalyst for the Flames' success on the boards this season. The Horizon League's second-leading rebounder (8.0 rpg), Carter has led the Flames in rebounding 15 times, and also grabbed nine or more caroms on 14 occasions.

THE 70-POINT PLATEAU
UIC's defensive effort has had a direct result on its won-loss fate as the Flames enter the stretch run of Horizon League play. The magic defensive number could very well be 70: When the Flames allow their opponent to score 70 or more points, they are 0-14 on the season.

TOUGH BREAKS IN HORIZON LEAGUE
UIC is 3-6 in games decided by five points or less this season, and four of those losses have come in Horizon League play, including two overtime setbacks. In fact, in 10 of the Flames' 22 losses this season, UIC has held a lead in the second half.


 

 

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