Men's Basketball Resumes Action in 2K Sports Classic this Weekend

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Nov. 18, 2010

CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team will resume action in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer this weekend, when the Flames travel to Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio, to take on the host Rockets, the College of Charleston and Rhode Island.

Friday night's tilt at Toledo will mark the Flames' second true road game of the young 2010-11 season -- UIC fell at No. 4/5 Pittsburgh (Nov. 10) in the first-round of the 2K Sports Classic. The Flames then defeated visiting Roosevelt (94-54) at the UIC Pavilion on Monday, winning their season opener for the fourth-consecutive year.

UIC will play Toledo twice this season -- the Rockets will also visit the UIC Pavilion for the second-consecutive season on Nov. 28. The Flames defeated UT, 66-52, last December, and have rolled off three-straight wins over the Rockets.

UIC will be facing the College of Charleston for the first time in the sport of men's basketball Saturday afternoon. The Flames and Rhode Island will also be going head-to-head for the first time in school history.

UIC will return home to face its second Mid-American Conference opponent of the season, when Central Michigan visits the UIC Pavilion next Wednesday (Nov. 25) beginning at 7 p.m. The Chippewas captured the MAC-West championship last season, and defeated the Flames (67-48) in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in the second game of the 2009-10 campaign.

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 a 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.

Toledo: Toledo head coach Tod Kowalczyk took over the reins of the University of Toledo men's basketball program on March 30, 2010, after spending the previous eight seasons as the mentor at Horizon League member Green Bay. Kowalczyk posted a 136-112 (.548) win-loss mark with the Phoenix, including a pair of 22-win campaigns in his final two seasons.

College of Charleston: Bobby Cremins, a veteran of 29 seasons as a college basketball head coach and the winningest coach in Georgia Tech history, begins his fifth season as head coach at the College of Charleston. The Bronx, N.Y. native, who coached six seasons at Appalachian State and 19 at Georgia Tech, led Appalachian State to one NCAA Tournament berth and Georgia Tech to nine.

Rhode Island: Jim Baron has served as the head coach at Rhode Island since 2001. Over the last four seasons, the Rams have won 89 games - the most victories in program history in a four-year time span. The success on the court has seen URI average over 22 wins per season, including three trips to the National Invitation Tournament and a spot in the finals of the 2007 Atlantic 10 Championship.

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 also 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.

CHICAGO - In his regular season home debut, senior forward Paul Carter came up just one rebound short of a double-double, recording game-highs in both points (24) and rebounds (9) as the UIC men's basketball team tallied a convincing 94-54 win over Roosevelt University at the UIC Pavilion Monday night.

Senior guard Robo Kreps scored 20 points, and junior guard Zavion Neely chipped in 10, to lead UIC's offensive output. The Flames dominated with a 48-22 advantage on the boards, as four Flames pulled down at least five caroms. Roosevelt was led by Paul Tometich's 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Kreps, making his second-consecutive appearance as the Flames' starting point guard, also dished out five assists against zero turnovers.

UIC also had its way in the paint, out-scoring the Lakers 44-16, while scoring 25 second-chance points. The Flames scored 37 points off Roosevelt's (1-4) 24 turnovers, and saw their bench out-score the Laker reserves, 38-9.

All 16 players that dressed for the Flames saw action, with 12 players cracking the scoring column. Paul Carter (24), Dipanjot Singh (5) and Jimmy Harding (4) all recorded career-high marks in scoring. Paris Carter, making his UIC debut, scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds in 21 minutes of action off the bench. Paul Carter's 24 points marked his highest scoring output in his Division I career, topping the 22 points he scored against Indiana on Feb. 10, 2009, while playing at Minnesota.

The 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer is in its 15th year of existence. This year's field includes UIC, Pittsburgh, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, College of Charleston, Louisiana Tech, Navy, Rhode Island, Seattle, Toledo and UC Irvine.

The Rockets will be led by first-year head coach Tod Kowalczyk, who comes to Toledo after eight successful seasons at Wisconsin-Green Bay ... Senior swingman Justin Anyijong is the Rockets' leading returning scorer (9.4 ppg) and rebounder (5.3 rpg) ... Sophomore guard Malcolm Griffin, a graduate of Hyde Park High School in Chicago, recorded averages of 7.1 points and 2.9 assists last season.

2010-11: The Rockets are off to an 0-2 start this season after dropping a pair of road setbacks versus nationally-ranked foes Illinois (84-45 on Nov. 10) and Temple (82-49 on Nov. 14) ... Three players are averaging double-figures in scoring, led by Zack Leahy's 11.5 points per contest.

The Cougars went 22-12 and reached the second round of the CBI, marking the third time in four years under head coach Bobby Cremins that they achieved a 20-win season ... Charleston will be led by senior guard Andrew Goudelock, who earned first-team All-Southern Conference honors and averaged team-bests of 19.4 ppg and 3.9 apg ... 6-8 senior Jeremy Simmons, who garnered second-team all-conference laurels, averaged 11.9 ppg and a team-high 8.0 rpg.

2010-11: The Cougars are 1-1 this season, after dropping a one-point (75-74) decision at Maryland in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic, and defeating host Holy Cross (93-84) on Nov. 13 ... Andrew Goudelock has averaged 22.5 points per game to lead four Charleston players averaging double figures.

Rhode Island compiled a 26-10 record in advancing to the semifinals of the NIT last season ... Senior forward Delroy James averaged 13.2 points and 5.3 rebounds while also blocking 44 shots ... Senior guard Marquis Jones tallied 5.7 ppg and handed out a team-high 4.1 assists per game ... He is the first Ram in eight years to dish out 100 assists in back-to-back seasons.

2010-11: Rhode Island picked up its first win of the season Tuesday, topping Brown (92-67) in its road opener. The Rams dropped an 83-75 decision at Pitt in the opening game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer. Rhode Island is being led offensively by Delroy James, who is averaging 21.5 points per game.

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 tonight's game with 1,135 career points, ranking 16th on the all-time scoring list at UIC.

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.

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.

Senior guard Robo Kreps enters this weekend's slate of games in the 2K Sports Classic with 1,132 career points, just 10 tallies away from tying Derrick Johnson (1985-89) for 14th on the all-time scoring list at UIC. Kreps has recorded 56 double-digit scoring efforts over the past three seasons, while scoring 20 or more points 15 times. He is one-of just 20 players in Flames basketball history to have joined the 1,000-point club.

Head coach Howard Moore started from the confines of his home, and then headed South and East to complete his first recruiting class, one that he hopes will fulfill his aggressive vision to rebuild the UIC men's basketball program.

Moore announced the newest additions to his 2011-12 team last Thursday, a five-player class that covers all five positions on the court. Chicago Public League (CPL) players Jerome Brown (6-4, SG, Morgan Park H.S.), Ahman Fells (6-5, G/F, Simeon) and Greg Travis (6-0, PG, Curie) all officially joined the program, along with 6-foot-5 shooting guard Marc Brown, out of Dallas, and Will Simonton, a 6-11 center from Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia.

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.

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