Feb. 28, 2014
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team (6-23, 1-14) returns to the UIC Pavilion on Saturday for the final time this season to host Wright State and honor seniors Jordan Harks, Kelsey Barlow and Hayden Humes. This past Tuesday, the Flames snapped its 17-game losing streak with an impressive 80-58 win at Milwaukee, UIC’s first league win of the year. The Flames won both meetings against WSU last season, but Wright State slipped past the Flames on Jan. 12 of this year, 58-53, in Dayton, Ohio. The Raiders hold a slim all-time series advantage over UIC with a record of 24-23.
Last Time Out
The Flames shook the proverbial monkey off their backs this past Tuesday as they snapped a 17-game losing streak with an 80-58 win at Milwaukee. UIC led wire-to-wire and held UWM to just 31.6 percent from the floor, a season-best for the Flames’ defense. Senior Kelsey Barlow was nearly perfect in the first half, scoring 18 points and shooting 7-of-8 from the floor. He finished with a game-high 23 points and a trio of made threes. Junior Jay Parker recorded a career-high seven rebounds, while adding eight points and four assists. As a team, UIC blocked a season-high five shots with three coming from 6-foot-10 center Will Simonton.
Scouting the Raiders
Wright State enters Saturday’s regular season finale in a tie for third-place in the Horizon League standings with Valparaiso as they both carry a 9-6 conference record. The Raiders own an overall mark of 17-13 and have won their last three outings. Wright State touts the Horizon League’s best scoring defense, limiting opponents to just 62.3 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the nation. Five WSU players average more than 8.5 points per game being led by AJ Pacher with 10.8 ppg. He also paces the team in rebounding (4.8) and field goal shooting percentage (60.3%).
Epic Road Win
UIC snapped its 17-game losing in epic fashion this past Tuesday with an 80-58 win at Milwaukee. The 22-point triumph was the largest margin of victory for UIC in a league road game in more than 16 years when the Flames downed Cleveland State, 96-72, on Feb. 19, 1998. It was the Flames’ largest road conquest since Dec. 5, 2006, when UIC pummeled in-state rival Northern Illinois by a final of 71-48 and stands as UIC’s first win at Milwaukee since March 1, 2008.
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 Valparaiso on Tuesday March 4, because Wright State holds the tie-breaker against the Crusaders, having won both head-to-head meetings. If UIC beats the Raiders and Valpo wins against Cleveland State on Saturday, then the Flames would travel to WSU. 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.
Jan. 12 Meeting Recap
The Flames led Wright State for more than 32 minutes in their previous meeting on Jan. 12 in Dayton, Ohio, but the Raiders ended the game on a 9-0 run to notch the win by a final of 58-53. UIC was in front by as much as eight points in the first half as WSU shot just 28 percent from the floor in the opening period. Senior Kelsey Barlow paced UIC with 19 points, including 13 in the second half. WSU’s AJ Pacher netted 17 points, including 11-of-13 from the foul line.
In seven of UIC’s 14 Horizon League losses, 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 eight of those contests. Seven of those 14 defeats have been by six points or less.
Senior Day Success
Saturday’s game will serve as ‘Senior Day’ for a trio of Flames’ players in Jordan Harks, Kelsey Barlow and Hayden Humes. Since UIC entered the Division I ranks in the 1981-82 season, the Flames hold a 22-10 all-time record on Senior Day and hold a 3-0 advantage over Wright State in those games. UIC’s most recent Senior Day win was actually against WSU on Feb. 18, 2009 by a final of 77-66.
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 15 Horizon League games, the Flames have out-scored their HL opposition in second-chance points by a surplus of 151-118. UIC has also out-rebounded their opponent on the offensive glass by a margin of 170-132 and have been outdone only three times in this category in league play.
Senior Kelsey Barlow is the only player in the Horizon League to lead his team in points, assists and steals. He also ranks third on the team in blocked shots and 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 seven 20-point outings this year and has reached double-digits on 21 occasions.