Men's Basketball Set to Host Central Michigan in Pre-Thanksgiving Tilt

Nov. 23, 2010

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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.

Central Michigan: Central Michigan is mentored by fifth-year head coach Ernie Zeigler. Zeigler's 54 wins in his first four seasons were the third-most of any coach since CMU joined the Division I ranks and his 34 MAC wins also ranked second-most over that same stretch. The Chippewas have reached the MAC Tournament quarterfinals in each of his four seasons, and recorded back-to-back MAC-West titles.

UIC is off to a 3-2 start, and has won three-of its last four games. The Flames are coming off two wins at the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer (Toledo, Ohio) last weekend, including a 74-68 victory over Rhode Island in last Sunday's finale. Wednesday's game against Central Michigan kicks off a four-game homestand for UIC.

Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 100 points (20.0 ppg) just five games into the season -- he has also dished out a team-high 17 assists in his first full season running the point. Senior forward Paul Carter, in his first season in a UIC uniform, is averaging 17.0 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 6.8 caroms per contest.

Junior guard Zavion Neely, who scored 12.2 points per game as a sophomore last season, is scoring 8.2 points per contest early this season.

The Flames currently rank second in the Horizon League in three-point percentage (.351), and are third overall in assists per game (14.0). UIC is averaging 69.0 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 69.6 points per contest.

Central Michigan is 1-3 on the season, but two of its last three losses have taken place in overtime, including last Saturday's 82-76 decision at South Alabama. The Chippewas opened the season with a 70-67 win over Cal-State Fullerton in the first-round of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

CMU, a member of the Mid-American Conference West Division, is being led offensively by freshman Trey Zeigler (19.3 ppg/6.8 rpg), the son of head coach Ernie Zeigler. A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Zeigler chose CMU over the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Arizona State and UCLA.

Jalin Thomas has also gotten off to a solid start offensively, averaging 14.3 points per game to go along with 4.3 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Amir Rashid has dished out a team-high 10 assists. The Chippewas are averaging 66.5 points per game, and giving up 69.8 points to their opponents.

The Flames are coming off a successful 2-1 record during last weekend's 2K Sports Classic sub-regional at Savage Arena in Toledo, Ohio. UIC started the tournament with a 57-51 win over host Toledo (11/19/10), recording their first road win of the season. After dropping a hard-fought 78-66 decision versus the College of Charleston one day later, the Flames ended the tournament with a 74-68 victory over Rhode Island, who advanced to the "Final Four" of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last season.

Friday's win was UIC's fourth-straight over Toledo (dating back to the 2007-08 season), and matched the Flames' entire road win total from last season. Sunday's victory over the Rams marked UIC's 450th NCAA Division I victory.

UIC's senior tandem of Robo Kreps and Paul Carter wrapped up an outstanding weekend of basketball by collecting some hardware on the way out of town. The 2K Sports Committee announced Sunday afternoon that Kreps was named the Toledo Subregional Most Valuable Player, while Carter was also named to the five-member All-Tournament team.

Kreps averaged 24.3 points per game on an impressive 60 percent (.595) clip from the field - he also dished out a total of 11 assists (3.7 apg), ripped down 5.0 rebounds per contest and shot 90.5 percent (19-21) from the free throw line. Carter averaged 18.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on a 46 percent (.458) effort from the floor.

After leading the UIC men's basketball team to three non-conference wins and earning Most Valuable Player Honors at the 2K Sports Classic Toledo Sub-regional, senior guard Robo Kreps was named the Horizon League Player of the Week, the conference office announced Monday morning.

In four games, Kreps averaged 23.3 points per game on a 57.1 percent clip from the field, including a near 55 percent (.542) mark from three-point range. He also dished out 4.0 assists per game, corralled 20 rebounds (5.0 rpg), and recorded a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio. Kreps played an average of 36.5 minutes per contest.

First-year head coach Howard Moore has guided UIC to a 3-2 record through its first five games and in doing so, has secured the best five-game start for a first-year Flames mentor since Willie Little (1983-87) coached the 1983-84 team to a 5-2 start. Little took over a team that won 16 games the year before (1982-83).

When people talk about doing the little things that "don't show up in the stat sheet," they may all be referring to UIC senior forward Brad Birton. The Windy City native is averaging just 2.6 points per game and has only 15 shots on the season, but could arguably be the Flames' MVP through five games. Birton's 15 assists rank second only behind senior guard Robo Kreps, and perhaps most impressively, he has already drawn a team-high 14 charges on the season. Birton is also averaging 6.2 rebounds per contest, ranking second behind only Paul Carter (6.8 rpg).

In the first two games of the season for first-year junior center Darrin Williams, he was plagued by foul trouble, picking up two personal fouls in the first-half against both Pittsburgh (11/10/10) and Roosevelt (11/15/10). But in each of the past three contests, Williams' minutes have increased, capped off by a nine-point, nine-rebound performance in a season-high 25 minutes of action versus Rhode Island on Sunday. Williams has started all five games.

Senior guard Robo Kreps enters Wednesday's game against Central Michigan with 1,205 points, which ranks 14th on the all-time scoring list at UIC. He needs 26 points to tie Nate Chambers (1984-88) for 13th, and is just 28 points away from equaling Armond Williams' (2001-05) career scoring output (1,233), which ranks 12th all time. Kreps has recorded 59 double-digit scoring efforts over the past three seasons, while scoring 20 or more points 18 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.

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, 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.

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.