Flames Open Paradise Jam Against New Mexico Friday

Senior center Josh Crittle
Senior center Josh Crittle

Nov. 15, 2012

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Game #2: UIC Flames (1-0) vs. New Mexico (1-0)
Location: St. Thomas,Virgin Islands • Arena: UVI Sports and Fitness Center
Game #1 Tipoff: 5:00 p.m. AST (3 p.m. CST) on Friday, Nov. 16
Radio: UIC Flames Radio Network (Dave Juday/Kenny Williams) • Flagship: WMVP-AM 1000/
Radio Note: Delay on ESPN Chicago (8:00 p.m.)
TV: CBS Sports Network (Check for local listings)
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 16-46 (3rd season)

Projected UIC Starters
#4 Gary Talton (PG)
Scored 10 points, dished out seven assists against zero turnovers, pulled down six rebounds and swiped a career-high four steals against UC Riverside. Member of the 2011 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team after scoring 13.2 ppg in League play.

#1 Daniel Barnes (SG)
Chipped in eight points on pair of three-pointers against UC Riverside. Scored a team second-best 10.4 points per game last season, and ranked fourth overall in the Horizon League in three-point field goals made (64). Recorded 16 double-digit scoring outputs, and led the Flames in scoring on eight occasions.

#10 Marc Brown (SF)
Pulled down career-high seven rebounds against UC Riverside. Scored exactly 200 points in freshman season, starting 27 contests. Scored six or more points on 15 occasions, and led the Flames in scoring five times.

#13 Hayden Humes
Scored 10 points on four field goals against UC Riverside. 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. Ranked sixth in the Horizon League in three-point field goal percentage (.418). Recorded 13 double-digit scoring outputs, and led UIC in rebounding 17 times.

#34 Josh Crittle
In UIC debut, posted Division I career-bests in points (15), blocks (5) and minutes played (35). Played in all 31 games for UCF last season, garnering 25 starts. Prior to transferring to UCF, appeared in 51 games over two seasons (2008-09/2009-10) at Oregon. Will have one season of eligibility at UIC.

Snapshot: Paradise Jam
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 Saturday, Nov. 17 or Sunday, Nov. 18. The Flames will play an undetermined opponent in the finale of the tournament on Monday, Nov. 19. All of UIC's games in the Paradise Jam will be broadcast on ESPN Chicago (WMVP-AM 1000) and, the home for Flames Basketball. Friday's game will air on tape delay beginning at 8:00 p.m., while the Flames' second contest (Saturday or Sunday) will air live. Monday's finale will be again be broadcast on tape delay.

UIC vs. UC Riverside Recap
The Flames opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 59-52 win over visiting UC Riverside at the UIC Pavilion Sunday afternoon. Senior center Josh Crittle and sophomore guard Joey Miller combined to score 29 points. Crittle led all scorers with 15 points, a career-high for his three-year Division I career. He was 5-for-11 from the field, 5-of-6 from the free throw line and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Miller was 4-for-6 from three-point land in 23 minutes off the bench. Additionally, junior forward Hayden Humes and senior guard Gary Taltonchipped in with 10 apiece.

Running the Show
Senior point guard Gary Taltonwent scoreless in the first half of UIC's 59-52 season-opening win over UC Riverside, but filled the stat sheet in plenty of other categories until his shot started falling in the second stanza. The Dallas native dished out seven assists against zero turnovers, swiped a career-high four steals and pulled down six rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Talton eventually finished with 10 points, tallying his 22nd career double-digit scoring output.

Finding Their Groove
It didn't take long for Division I transfers Josh Crittle and Joey Millerto get acclimated to the UIC Pavilion. In their first-ever games at UIC, the duo combined to score 29 points, representing the Flames' top two scorers in a 59-52 victory over UC Riverside. Crittle (15 points) was 5-for-11 from the field, while Miller (14) was 4-of-6, all from three-point land. The tandem also combined to shoot 7-for-8 from the free throw line.

All About Balance
UIC may have found the recipe that will help the Flames turn the corner this season in Sunday's 59-52 win over UC Riverside: offensive balance. The Flames had four players in double figures (Josh Crittle with 15 points, Joey Miller with 14, Hayden Humes and Gary Talton with 10 points apiece), and senior guard Daniel Barnesfinished with eight points bolstered by a pair of three-pointers. UIC also held the Highlanders to just a 35.2 percent output from the field.

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 seven 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).

Scouting New Mexico
New Mexico, UIC's first opponent in the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, enters the tournament with a 1-0 record after rallying to defeat Davidson Monday night (85-81). Tony Snell had 25 points, including a shot-clock-beating 3-pointer with a minute left that lifted the Lobos to a come-from-behind win (NMU trailed 45-31 at halftime). New Mexico got 17 points from Kendall Williams and 14 from Alex Kirk, who also led the Lobos with seven rebounds. New Mexico boasted a convincing 27-7 advantage on the boards in the second half. The Lobos returns eight lettermen and three starters from last year's 2012-13 season in which the Lobos went 28-7 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament's third round (the round of 32).

Scouting George Mason
Depending on the result of UIC's first-round game against New Mexico, the Flames will take on either George Mason or Mercer in the second round, either Saturday or Sunday. George Mason is off to a 1-1 start after defeating Virginia (63-59) in the opener, and dropping a 61-56 decision at Bucknell on Tuesday night. The Patriots went 24-9 last season but are looking to replace one of the top senior classes in school history, including forward Ryan Pearson, last season's CAA Player of the Year. Through two games this season, Sherrod Wright has been GMU's most consistent offensive threat, averaging 15.5 points per game while shooting 60 percent from the floor. George Mason is coached by former Georgia Tech mentor Paul Hewitt, who is in his second season at the helm.

Scouting Mercer
As mentioned, UIC's second round opponent could also be Mercer. The Bears are 2-0 early on this season after recording home wins over Sewanee (65-36 on Nov. 10) and Oglethorpe (70-25 on Monday). Mercer will be a veteran team in 2012-13 - the Bears are returning 11 letterwinners, including four starters from last year's squad, which won 27 games (27-11, 13-5 Atlantic Sun) and advanced to the Postseason Tournament. In the first two games of the season, Mercer has been led offensively by Travis Smith, who is averaging 11.5 points per game. Mercer is coached by Bob Hoffman, who is in his fifth season.

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 this week's 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. The Horizon League slate begins on Jan. 2, when the Flames host Youngstown State. In last week's opening weekend of college basketball, Horizon League teams went 9-1.

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 Barnesrepresented 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 Inks McGuire, Whitaker in Early Signing Period
During the first week of the early signing period, head men's basketball coach Howard Mooreannounced the official signings of Elkhart (Ind.) Memorial combo guard Markese McGuire, along with Lance Whitaker, a wing from Bartlett High School. Both student-athletes will have four years of eligibility at UIC, beginning in the 2013-14 campaign.

McGuire chose to attend UIC over the likes of Milwaukee, Evansville and Northern Illinois. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard is regarded as one of the top shooters in the state of Indiana heading into his senior season. He averaged 16.3 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists for Elkhart Memorial as a junior.

Whitaker is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wing (guard/forward) that averaged 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds for Bartlett High School as a sophomore. On the AAU circuit, he played for the Illinois Wolves under the tutelage of coach Mike Mullins, the father of former Southern Illinois standout guard Bryan Mullins. Along with his scoring ability, Whitaker is also known as one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the state of Illinois.

Moore's Second Recruiting Class Garners National 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.