THE MATCH-UP The UIC men's basketball team will look to win its regular season home opener for the third-straight season under head coach Howard Moore, when the Flames entertain UC Riverside at the Pavilion Sunday beginning at 1:00 p.m. CST. The Highlanders will be playing their second regular season game, after visiting DePaul in their season opener Friday night. UIC is coming off a 56-49 win over UW-Platteville on Wednesday night in its lone exhibition game.
EXHIBITION RECAP Senior guards Daniel Barnes and Gary Talton led UIC to a 56-49 win over UW-Platteville in Wednesday night's exhibition game at the Pavilion. Barnes scored a game-high 21 points, while Talton chipped in with 18. Junior forward Hayden Humesalso pulled down 10 rebounds in the win. The Flames shot 42.2 percent from the field, and drilled six three-pointers, including a 4-for-6 effort by Barnes. UIC also held the Pioneers to just a 36.5 percent shooting output.
WHAT'S BACK? UIC's four returning starters include senior point guard Gary Talton (11.6 ppg/3.3 apg), senior guard Daniel Barnes (10.4 ppg), junior forward Hayden Humes (8.2 ppg) and sophomore wing Marc Brown(6.7 ppg). Talton was a Horizon League All-Newcomer Team selection last season after leading UIC in scoring, field goals made (122), free throw percentage (.867), free throws made (78) and assists per game (3.3). Overall, UIC returns 65 percent of its scoring from the 2011-12 campaign.
NEW TO THE SCENE Head coach Howard Moore and his staff have welcomed eight newcomers to the mix, including two Division I transfers that will be immediately eligible. Senior center Josh Crittle, a native of Bellwood, Ill., spent the past two seasons at UCF, where he started 25 games as a junior (2011-12) -- he is enrolled in UIC's graduate school, and will have one season of eligibility remaining with the Flames. Crittle began his college career at Oregon after a stellar prep career at nearby Hales Franciscan.
Sophomore guard Joey Millerplayed his first season of college basketball at Eastern Illinois before transferring to UIC -- he was given immediate eligibility with the Flames after being granted a hardship waiver from the NCAA. Miller scored 10.4 points per game in his freshman season with the Panthers, and was named the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Freshman of the Week on three occasions.
Other newcomers include point guard Jay Parker (So.), a transfer from Highland C.C., along with freshmen post players Matt Gorski and Jake Wiegand, a pair of Virginia natives that both played one year of postgraduate basketball at Fishburne Military Academy (Va.). Gorski is a 7-footer that possesses both the size and upside to be a dominant center in the Horizon League.
Gabe Snider, a local product from Whitney Young High School in Chicago, joins the Flames after a standout prep career. One of the top shooters in the state of Illinois as a senior, Snider helped the Dolphins capture back-to-back regional titles and make two deep runs in the IHSA State Tournament. Also joining the program are freshmen guard walk-ons Austin Angel (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier) and Ngijol Songolo(Madison, Wis./Memorial).
FAMILY AFFAIR When UIC sophomore guard Joey Millertakes the floor for the first official time as a UIC Flame Sunday, he'll see a familiar face on the visiting bench. Joey's father, Mike, is in his first year as an assistant coach at UC Riverside under head coach Jim Woolridge. Prior to transferring to UIC, Joey played for his father last season as a freshman at Eastern Illinois, when Mike was the Panthers' head coach. Woolridge also has Chicago connections - he spent two seasons (1998-2000) as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls.
UC RIVERSIDE VS. DEPAUL RECAP Brandon Young scored 20 points and Cleveland Melvin added 16 as DePaul defeated UC Riverside 91-59, in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
Playing a rare game at on-campus McGrath-Phillips Arena, the Blue Demons pulled away in the second half, as they turned a 10-point halftime lead into a 24-point advantage with 12:08 showing in the second. Josh Fox scored 17 points while Austin Quick added 15 for UC-Riverside. Robert Smith, the Highlanders' top returning scorer, closed with nine.
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE UIC will depart on Wednesday for the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at University of the Virgin Islands (Nov. 16-19). The Flames will take on New Mexico in the opening game of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 16. Depending on the result of that game, UIC would face either George Mason or Mercer on Thursday, Nov. 17 or Friday, Nov. 18. The Flames will play an undetermined opponent in the finale of the tournament on Monday, Nov. 19.
Other first-round games on Friday will include Mercer vs. George Mason (2:30 p.m. AST), Wake Forest vs. UConn (7:30 p.m.) and Quinnipiac vs. Iona (10:00 p.m.). First-round winners will advance to the winner's bracket, while the losers will play in the ensuing loser's bracket. The championship game is set for Monday, Nov. 19 at 10:00 p.m. AST. The Paradise Jam began in 2001, and has run every year since - UIC finished eighth in the field in 2007.
AGGRESSIVE SCHEDULE LIES AHEAD UIC's 2012-13 schedule features 14 regular season home games, four non-conference match-ups against in-state foes and the aforementioned trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam at University of the Virgin Islands. The Flames will also play at least 13 games against teams that made appearances in the 2012 postseason, including three NCAA Tournament foes.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS ON TALTON Senior point guard Gary Taltonreturns for his second season in a Flames uniform, and will look to expand upon a debut campaign that saw the Dallas native lead UIC in scoring (11.6 ppg), field goals made (122), free throw percentage (.867), free throws made (78) and assists per game (3.3). Talton ended the 2011-12 campaign ranked 12th in the Horizon League in scoring, seventh in assists, and led the League in free throw percentage. Talton was named to the League's All-Newcomer Team after raising his scoring average to 13.2 points per game in Horizon League play.
LEADERS OF THE PACK Heading into the 2012-13 season, senior guards Gary Talton and Daniel Barnesrepresent the highest scoring returning backcourt in the Horizon League. In just their first season playing together, the duo combined to average 22.0 points per game in 2011-12. Along with Talton leading UIC in five offensive categories last season, Barnes ranked sixth in the League in steals per game (1.5), and fourth overall in three-point field goals made (64), while ranking second on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per contest.
HUMES RETURNS FOR SECOND SEASON One of UIC's preseason All-Horizon League performers is junior forward Hayden Humes, a transfer from Toledo that enters his second season with the Flames. Humes scored in double figures in seven-of the last nine games of the 2011-12 season, and led the Flames in rebounding in 10-of the final 12 contests. The Valparaiso, Ind., native shot 41.8 percent from three-point range last season, ranking sixth in the Horizon League.
MOORE'S SECOND RECRUITING CLASS GARNERS PRAISE Thanks to the addition of Division I transfers Josh Crittle and Joey Miller, along with incoming freshmen Matt Gorski and Jake Wiegand, the UIC men's basketball 2012-13 recruiting class was recognized at the "Head of the Class" by USA Today in its Horizon League men's basketball preview and "Rating the Recruiting" section earlier this month. The publication pointed out those four players in particular, but as mentioned, UIC has seven total newcomers on its 2012-13 roster.
BARLOW TRANSFERS TO UIC Former Purdue guard Kelsey Barlow, who played in 93 games for the Boilermakers over the past three seasons, also transferred to UIC during the offseason. The Indianapolis, Ind., native will be required to sit out the 2012-13 campaign to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Last season, in 26 games played, Barlow averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per contest. Barlow, who will be permitted to practice with the Flames this season, was also named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman Team in 2009-10.