Dec. 13, 2013
UIC Game Notes
The UIC men’s basketball team will play its second consecutive road contest on Saturday as the Flames tip off against Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) at 7 p.m. CT inside the Show Me Center. UIC defeated the Redhawks at home last season by a final of 56-45 in the very first meeting between the two schools on Nov. 24, 2012. SEMO enters the non-league matchup on a five-game winning streak and an overall record of 7-2. UIC holds a 3-6 mark after dropping two tightly contested games against SMU and Loyola.
Last Time Out
In last Saturday’s contest against city-rival Loyola, UIC stormed out to an eight-point lead within the first eight-plus minutes of action, but was eventually edged by the Ramblers, 73-70. Loyola erased UIC’s two-point halftime lead with a 12-2 run to open the second period and stayed in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game. The Flames were paced by Marc Brown and Hayden Humes with 18 and 14 points, respectively. Despite suffering from the flu, senior Kelsey Barlow managed 10 points, five assists and three steals in 23 minutes.
Scouting The Redhawks
SEMO touts an overall record of 7-2 and a five-game winning streak heading into the game against UIC. The Redhawks own the 13th-ranked offense in the country as they average 87.4 points per outing, led by senior forward Tyler Stone who nearly averages a double-double with 19.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Guard Lucas Nutt has been successful at distributing the ball, leading the team with 6.1 assists per game and ranking 20th in the nation. SEMO’s field goal shooting percentage of 51.3% is the ninth-best mark in the NCAA, while their scoring margin of +15.7 ranks 23rd.
Barlow Mimics Former NBA First-Round Pick Sherell Ford
Senior Kelsey Barlow recorded back-to-back 30-point efforts with 31 against SMU and a career-high 38 versus Wagner. Barlow is the first UIC player to post consecutive 30-point games since Feb. of 1995 when NBA first round draft pick Sherell Ford rattled off three consecutive scoring outputs of 32, 37 and 35. In fact, Barlow is just the third Flame in program history to do so as UIC Hall of Famer Kenny Williams achieved the feat twice during the 1992-93 season.
Strength of Schedule
After Wednesday night’s NCAA slate of games, UIC’s 10 opponents so far this season (including SEMO) have a combined record of 63-33 for a .656 winning percentage. Aside from Oakland (68-25, .731), the Flames tout the toughest non-conference schedule in terms of opponent record among Horizon League schools. The non-league campaign won’t get any easier as the Flames make a road trip to 7-4 Colorado State, along with a showdown versus 9-1 Illinois at the United Center on Dec. 28.
What Can Brown Do For You?
Junior Marc Brown is having one of the best breakout seasons in the Horizon League this year. The Dallas native is averaging 13.4 points per game, up nearly eight points from the end of last year, and began the 2013-14 campaign with three straight 20-point efforts. Brown became the first Flame to post a trio of 20-point games since Robo Kreps did it in the 2010-11 season. His previous career-high of 24 versus Evansville on Nov. 23, 2011 was his lone 20-point contest as a Flame entering this season. Brown broke that mark with 25 points against Roosevelt on Nov. 13.
Wiegand Take it up a Notch
In his last five games, sophomore Jake Wiegand has been a force in the low post for UIC. Over the past two weeks, Wiegand is averaging 8.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in just 23.8 minutes of action. He has reach double-digit scoring figures in three of those five contests, including his first career double-double versus San Diego on Nov. 25. Wiegand has made tremendous strides from his freshman season as he averaged just 6.2 minutes per outing last year.
Birt Takes Center Stage
Freshman Pat Birt has burst onto the scene in UIC’s most recent five contests, averaging seven points per game over that span, including two consecutive 11-point outings in the Gulf Coast Showcase. Birt tallied eight points and two treys against Loyola last Saturday and notched a career-high 28 minutes of action versus SMU. The Plano, Texas native was a 5A first-team All-State selection at the conclusion of his high school senior year.
Humes Finding His Stride
Senior Hayden Humes had his best game of the 2013-14 season last Saturday versus Loyola with 14 points and a game-high seven rebounds. Humes also knocked down six of his eight shot attempts and was 2-for-2 from behind the arc. The Valparaiso, Ind., native ranks second in career active threes in the Horizon League with 103, while sitting third in rebounds (373) and fifth in scoring (655).