Flames Host Roosevelt in Home Opener Monday


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Nov. 14, 2010

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The UIC men's basketball team will play within the confines of the UIC Pavilion for the first time Monday, when the Flames host Roosevelt in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. The game will be preceded by the front end of a doubleheader, with the UIC women's basketball team taking on Oakland University beginning at 5 p.m.

UIC is coming off a 97-54 loss at No. 4/5 Pittsburgh in last Wednesday's season opener. Senior center K.C. Robbins came off the bench to score 12 first-half points, and five other Flames tallied their first-career points, but the Panthers shot 70 percent from the field in the second half to put the game out of reach.

Robbins' 12 first-half points, just two off his career-high, came on a 6-of-8 effort from the field in the opening frame. After falling behind by 18 points with just over 5:00 remaining in the first stanza, the Flames trimmed the lead to 14 points (43-29) at halftime. But the Panthers, playing their second game of the season, out-scored UIC in the second half, 54-25.

Pitt held a 45-25 advantage on the boards, and four players scored in double figures, led by Ashton Gibbs' 24 points. Brad Wanamaker added 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting. UIC senior guard Robo Kreps scored seven points, while senior forward Paul Carter, junior guard Zavion Neely and junior guard Daniel Barnes all chipped in with six.

UIC will resume action in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer this weekend in Toledo, Ohio (Nov. 19-21), taking on the host Rockets (11/19/10), College of Charleston (11/20/10) and Rhode Island (11/21/10).

UIC: Howard Moore (Wisconsin, `95) is in his first season as a college head coach. He spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping the Badgers to five straight NCAA tournament berths. Moore, 37, also served assistant coaching stints at Loyola (2004-05), Ball State (2003-04) and Bradley (1999-2003).

Roosevelt: The fourth head coach in Roosevelt men's basketball history, Joe Griffin has been charged with reviving a program that has been dormant for the last 20 years, and constructing a team that will begin competing in 2010-11 at the NAIA level as members of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The 30-year old Michigan native honed his skills under the tutelage of Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo, serving for two seasons (2006-08) as a graduate assistant coach for the Spartans.

» Roosevelt University is an independent, non-profit, metropolitan university with two distinct campuses located in downtown Chicago and suburban Schaumburg, Illinois.
» Roosevelt University became the 296th member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) last April. The Lakers began competition this fall in seven sports, including men's and women's cross country, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's basketball and baseball.
» Roosevelt picked up its first win of the season, an 84-83 overtime win over East-West University, last Wednesday (11/10/10). The Lakers play their home games at the Keating Sports Center in Chicago.

Monday night's home opener against Roosevelt marks the first regular season game at the UIC Pavilion for first-year head coach Howard Moore. Moore is a Chicago native who grew up mere blocks from the UIC campus. He takes over the Flames basketball program after serving the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Wisconsin, his alma mater, under Bo Ryan.

Moore joined the Wisconsin staff in 2005 and helped the Badgers to NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years. The Badgers advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the last four seasons, including a Sweet 16 run in 2008.

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

As mentioned, five UIC players (Paul Carter, Darrin Williams, Daniel Barnes, Matt Bush and Dorian Tyler) all scored their first-career points in last Wednesday's game at Pitt, and Williams recorded his first-career start ... Barnes' six points came on two three-pointers in the first half, while Bush went 2-of-2 from the field.

UIC's bench players scored 26 of the Flames' 54 total points ... All 15 players that dressed saw action in the game ... Pittsburgh out-scored UIC 40-26 in the paint ... The Panthers scored 18 points off UIC's 12 turnovers ... Pitt recorded a 45-25 advantage on the boards.

After falling behind by 18 points with just over five minutes (5:04) remaining in the first half, the Flames trimmed Pitt's lead to just 12 (41-29) with 1:07 remaining in the opening stanza ... Robbins' 12 points in the first-half was aided by three-straight field goals between the 6:07 and 4:13 mark ... Senior forward Brad Birton tallied UIC's first two field goals of the game ... The Flames out-scored the Panthers in the paint in the first half, 14-12.

UIC returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last season's team, which recorded an 8-22 record, including a 3-15 mark in Horizon League play. The Flames' starting backcourt of Robo Kreps and Zavion Neely returns -- Kreps and Neely averaged 15.2 and 12.2 points per game respectively, and were UIC's top-two scorers.

The Flames will welcome eight newcomers, including four junior college transfers (juniors Daniel Barnes, Paris Carter, Dorian Tyler and Darrin Williams), two freshmen (Eddie Denard and Shawn King), junior Matt Bush, who sat out his first season with a medical redshirt, and Minnesota transfer Paul Carter, a senior.

Senior frontcourt members Brad Birton (4.0 ppg/3.6 rpg) and K.C. Robbins (4.0 ppg/4.0 rpg) also return, along with sophomore guard Anthony Kelley, who appeared in 21 games during his first season in a Flames uniform.

Since joining the NCAA Division I ranks prior to the 1982-83 season, UIC's men's basketball team has compiled a 22-7 record in home openers. The Flames defeated Illinois-Springfield in last season's lid lifter at the UIC Pavilion, topping the Prairie Stars, 72-59. UIC's has won four-straight home openers, dating back to the 2005-06 campaign. That stretch includes home wins over Missouri Valley Conference foes Northern Iowa (2008-09) and Bradley (2007-08).

Senior guard Robo Kreps, the Horizon League's fifth-leading returning scorer, was named to the preseason All-Second Team in a poll conducted by the league's media, head coaches and sports information directors.

Kreps averaged a team-high 15.2 points per game last season, while leading the Horizon League in minutes played (35.7 mpg). The two-year starter has ranked in the top-10 of the league in scoring in each of the past two seasons, and enters his senior campaign with 1,105 career points, ranking 16th on the all-time scoring list at UIC.

UIC was picked ninth in the preseason team poll, 25 points behind eighth place Loyola and 54 points ahead of 10th place Youngstown State. Butler was the unanimous pick to repeat as Horizon League Champions.

As a junior last season, Robo Kreps set career highs in points (456), rebounds (116), assists (64), steals (42), field goals (142), three-pointers (56), free throws made (116) and minutes played (1,070). He made two game-winning baskets, scored a career-high 31 points against Detroit (12/31/09) and averaged 22.0 points per game in UIC's final four games. He enters his senior season ranked 16th on UIC's all-time scoring list (1,105), ranks fifth in career three-point field goal attempts (428) and is tied for sixth in three-point field goals made (159).

First-year head coach Howard Moore and the UIC men's basketball program received some great news in late September, when Minnesota transfer Paul Carter was granted a legislative relief waiver by the NCAA, allowing him immediate eligibility at UIC for his senior season.

Carter is a versatile 6-8, 203-pound forward who played a key role as the Sixth Man for Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith the past two seasons, helping the Golden Gophers reach a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. With the Golden Gophers, Carter scored more than 300 points and corralled over 200 rebounds.

Carter transferred to UIC with one year of eligibility remaining to be near his sister, Bria, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, last winter. Since Carter joined the Flames, Bria has completed chemotherapy, received a temporary prosthetic leg after amputation, and is planning to begin her high school career at King High School in Chicago next semester.

Carter comes from a strong sports family. Ron Carter, Paul's father, was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1978, and his older brother, Ron III, was an All-American triple jumper at California State-Long Beach.

Junior guard Zavion Neely enjoyed a breakout campaign as a sophomore, averaging 12.2 points per game, the second-best average on the team and the 18th-best mark in the Horizon League. The Chicago native scored in double figures 20 times, and averaged 15.3 points over the final three contests of the 2009-10 season. As a freshman (2008-09), Neely appeared in just eight games, averaging 1.8 points per contest.

Head coach Howard Moore named seniors Robo Kreps and Paul Carter co-captains for the 2010-11 campaign, Moore's first season as the 10th head men's basketball coach at UIC.

Head coach Howard Moore will bring a version of Wisconsin's "Swing Offense" to UIC. The Flames will also employ an aggressive, man-to-man defensive scheme.

Howard Moore assembled an assistant coaching staff that has impeccable local recruiting ties, a wealth of Division I experience and plenty of "blood in the bricks."

Al Biancalana brings nearly three decades of coaching experience to UIC at both the college and high school levels. From 1999-2005, the Elmwood, Park, Ill., native was the top assistant at Bradley when Moore was also on the staff. Biancalana was responsible for recruiting the majority of the roster for the Braves' 2006 NCAA "Sweet 16" run.

Mike Mennenga, a native of Rantul, Ill., comes to UIC after a stint as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut State. Prior to that he was the Director of Player Development under head coach Keno Davis at Providence for a year. He has also served assistant coaching stints at Iowa State, where helped bring in a top 25 recruiting class in 2005-06, along with Buffalo and Maine.

Donnie Kirksey joined Moore's staff after serving as the head basketball coach and athletic director at Chicago's Hyde Park Academy since 2007. He also brings college basketball coaching experience from stints at both DePaul and Chicago State.

Matt Ryan, the Director of Basketball Operations, is Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan's youngest son. He most recently served on the Wisconsin staff with Moore as the Badgers' video coordinator, and also served as the basketball operations administrator and lead video coordinator for the USA Men's World University Team for the 2009 World University Games. Ryan played college basketball at Milwaukee, also a member of the Horizon League.

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