Flames Host Eastern Michigan on CSN Chicago Saturday

Senior point guard Gary Talton
Senior point guard Gary Talton

Dec. 14, 2012

UIC vs. Eastern Michigan Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Game #10: UIC Flames (8-1) vs. Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-2)
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 • UIC Pavilion (Chicago, Ill.) • 1:00 p.m.
Audio/Video: UIC Flames Radio Network/Horizon League Network • Radio Flagship: ESPN Chicago/
Radio/HLN Talent: Dave Juday/Kenny Williams/Jonathan Hood
Television: Comcast SportsNet Chicago: Dave Wills/David Kaplan/Jimmy Collins
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 23-47 (3rd season)
UIC Athletic Communications Contact: Brett McWethy • Office Phone: 312.996.5880
Cell Phone: 815.751.1015 • E-mail: • Press Row: 312.413.5712/5710
Twitter Coverage: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
Eastern Michigan68
November 11, 2011
Ypsilanti, Mich. (Convocation Center)
Men's Hoops Comes up Short at Eastern Michigan in Opener, 68-57
Senior forward Paris Carter tallied his second-career double-double with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds, but host Eastern Michigan out-scored the UIC men's basketball team 21-10 over the final 8:25, leading to a 68-57 win over the Flames in the regular season opener for both teams at the Convocation Center Friday night.

#4 Gary Talton • PG
Leads the Flames in scoring, assists and steals. Ranks second in the Horizon League in assists per game, and is 17th nationally in assist/turnover ratio (3.38). Scored a game-high 20 points, including a 12-for-12 effort from the free throw line against Colorado State. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#1 Daniel Barnes • SG
Has drilled 22 three-point field goals this season, an average of 2.4 threes per game. Scored 14 points on four three-pointers against Colorado State, eclipsing the 400 career-point plateau. Enters Saturday's game against EMU with exactly 100 points on the season. Averaged a team second-best 10.4 points per game last season.

#10 Marc Brown • SF/W
Dating back to the 2011-12 season, has started the last 23 games. UIC's best perimeter defender. Scored a season-high 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting against Colorado State. Shooting 84.0 percent (21-25) from the free throw line. Scored exactly 200 points in freshman season, starting 27 contests.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
UIC's second-leading scorer and leading rebounder. Shooting Horizon League fifth-best 52.4 percent (43-82) from the field and 50.0 percent (19-38) from three, which ranks second in the League. Dating back to the 2011-12 campaign, has posted double-digit scoring outputs in 14-of the last 19 games.

#34 Josh Crittle • C
Has posted double-digit scoring efforts in five-of the last six games. Enters Saturday's game as the Flames' second-leading rebounder. Averaging 2.4 assists per game, second-most on the team. Playing 27.3 mpg this season after averaging just 14.1 mpg in his previous three seasons of Division I basketball. Transferred to UIC from UCF in September.

UIC will be seeking its first-ever win over Eastern Michigan. The Flames and Eagles have gone head-to-head four times in the sport of men's basketball, with EMU winning those games by an average of 10.3 points per contest. The Eagles outlasted UIC in the 2011-12 season opener, 68-57 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich. EMU will be making its first trip to Chicago since 1992-93.

Setting the Scene
The first-place UIC men's basketball team will look to remain unbeaten at home, and collect its eighth-straight victory Saturday, when the Flames host Eastern Michigan at the Pavilion beginning at 1:00 p.m. CST. UIC is ranked No. 16 in this week's Mid-Major Top-25 poll, while EMU collected 20 votes in the poll.

What to Watch For
Defense. UIC enters Saturday's game ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (52.0 ppg), eighth overall in defensive field goal percentage (.353) and 15th in the country in three-point field goal defense (.253). Meanwhile, EMU is surrendering just 55.5 points per game, the 16th-best mark in the Division I ranks, and is also averaging 5.9 blocks per game, which ranks 15th in the nation. The main difference between the two teams' defensive effort will be their respective schemes - the Flames play nearly exclusively man-to-man defense, while EMU's primary defensive look is a 2-3 zone.

Seeking #9 With a win over Eastern Michigan, UIC would collect its ninth win of the season and eclipse its entire victory total from the 2011-12 campaign (8-22, 3-15 Horizon League) with at least 21 games remaining. The Flames matched their win total from last season with a 64-55 win over Colorado State last Saturday (Dec. 8) at the Pavilion.

What's Trending?
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes has scored in double figures in each of the past six games, and is averaging 12.0 points and 4.3 rebounds during that stretch.
• Senior point guard Gary Talton has handed out at least four assists in six games, and dished out three or more helpers eight-of-nine contests. The Dallas native had five assists against Colorado State, and has dished out a combined 13 helpers in the first two games of UIC's current homestand.
• In home games, Talton is averaging 13.8 points, 5.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per contest.
• Dating back to last season, Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 14-of the last 16 contests.
• Senior center Josh Crittle has averaged 11.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks during UIC's four home games at the Pavilion this season.
• Junior forward Hayden Humes, who was held to a season-low two points against Colorado State, is averaging 19.5 points per game immediately after being limited to a single-digit scoring performance this season.
• Sophomore wing Marc Brownhas played at least 30 minutes in four-of the past four games. Prior to the stretch, Brown was averaging just 24.0 mpg. Over the past three contests, Brown is scoring 8.7 points per game on nearly 40 percent shooting (.391).

• Talton (13.4 ppg), Humes (12.6), Barnes (11.6) and Crittle (10.1) are all averaging double figures in scoring.
• UIC is averaging 65.3 points per game, and giving up just 50.0 points per contest, a scoring margin of +15.3.
• The Flames have swiped 54 total steals (7.7 spg) over the seven games, while their opponents have recorded just 23 steals (3.3 spg). UIC has also averaged 12.6 assists versus just 9.6 turnovers during the stretch.
• UIC has made 134 trips to the free throw line over the seven games, compared to just 95 attempts for its opponents.

2012-13 Season Snapshot
• Senior point guard Gary Talton, junior forward Hayden Humes and sophomore wing Marc Brown will all be playing their 40th career games against Eastern Michigan.
• Talton leads the Flames in scoring, averaging 13.1 points per game. He also paces UIC in both assists (44) and steals (15).
• Humes enters Saturday's game against EMU as the Flames' leading rebounder, averaging 5.6 caroms per game. He is also shooting a team-best 52.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range.
• Talton (13.0 ppg; 9th), Humes (12.7; 13th), Barnes (11.1; t-18th) and senior center Josh Crittle (10.4; 20th) all rank in the Horizon League's top-20 in scoring. • UIC returns four starters from the 2011-12 team, including four-of its top five scorers. Overall, the Flames bring back 65 percent of their scoring from last season.
• During the 2012-13 season, UIC will play at least 14 games this season against teams that made appearances in the 2012 postseason, including four NCAA Tournament foes.

UIC vs. Colorado State Recap
Senior point guard Gary Taltonscored a game-high 20 points to lead a foursome of Flames in double figures, and the UIC men's basketball team held its fifth-straight opponent under 35 percent shooting in a 64-55 win over Colorado State at the UIC Pavilion last Saturday. The victory extended the Flames' winning streak to seven games, the program's longest such streak since the 1997-98 campaign.

With the win, UIC improved to 8-1 on the season, while Colorado State dropped to 6-2 overall. The Flames held the Rams to just a 33.3 percent output from the field, and forced CSU into 15 turnovers.

The majority of Talton's scoring output came from the free throw line, where he was a perfect 12-for-12, including 6-of-6 effort in the final 4:23. Joining Talton in double figures was senior guard Daniel Barnes (14 points), sophomore wing Marc Brown (12) and senior center Josh Crittle(10).

UIC took the lead for good (47-46) at the 5:12 mark, after sophomore center Will Simontonconverted a left-handed runner. He was fouled on UIC's next possession, and buried both freebies to push the Flames' lead to three points, 49-46. UIC finished the game off from the charity stripe, going 11-for-12 in the final 4:23. Talton hit a three-pointer with 2:12 remaining to give UIC a two-possession lead, 55-50. Crittle's conventional three-point play with 35 seconds left gave the Flames a comfortable 62-53 lead.

Flames Climb to No. 16 in Latest Mid-Major Top-25
After extending its winning streak to seven games with a pair of non-conference wins at the Pavilion last week, the UIC men's basketball team jumped from No. 22 to No. 16 in Monday's Mid-Major Top-25 poll. The weekly poll is voted on by 30 Division I head coaches across the country.

The Flames (8-1) dominated Roosevelt 81-43 last Wednesday, and defeated 2012 NCAA Tournament participant Colorado State, 64-55, at the Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. The Flames collected 296 total points in the poll, and jumped the aforementioned six spots in the poll, the biggest improvement among all 25 ranked teams. Valparaiso, the only other Horizon League team represented in the Mid-Major Top-25, moved from No. 18 to 20th overall.

Talton Receives Weekly Recognition from College Sports Madness
Senior point guard Gary Taltonwas named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Monday. The Dallas native averaged 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 rebounds per game in leading the Flames to non-conference home wins over Roosevelt and Colorado State.

Talton's offensive performance against the Rams was particularly notable - he scored a season-high 20 points, dished out a game-high five assists and pulled down a team-high five rebounds. He was also 12-for-12 from the free throw line.

For the week, Talton dished out 13 assists against just three turnovers, posting a week-long assist/turnover ratio of 4.3. He also pulled down eight rebounds and shot 42.1 percent from the field, converting eight total field goals.

Making Their Mark
As mentioned, UIC has already equaled its entire win total from the 2011-12 campaign (8). Through the first one-third of the season, the Flames are on pace to post one of the biggest turnarounds in the country. UIC won just 26.7 percent of its games last season (8-22, 3-15 Horizon), but this season, owns a winning percentage of 88.9 heading into Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan, an increase of 62.2 percent. The only team in the Division I ranks that is on pace to record a more significant turnaround is Canisius, who is off to a 6-1 start after going just 5-25 last season (increase of 69.1 percent).

On the Fast Track
UIC is off to a 8-1 start for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign, when the Flames jumped out of the gate with a 10-1 record and eventually advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The last time UIC won eight-consecutive games was also during the 1997-98 campaign.

Climbing to the Top (Of the Nation)
In the Dec. 10 version of the NCAA statistics, UIC ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (52.0 ppg), eighth in defensive field goal percentage (.353) and 17th in three-point field goal defense (.253). UIC is also well-represented on offense, where the Flames rank fourth in turnovers per game (9.8), 15th in free throw percentage (.767) and 32nd overall in assist/turnover ratio (1.28). There are 345 teams represented in NCAA Division I men's basketball.

Gettin' Defensive
UIC is on its way to enjoying its most successful team defensive season in program history. The Flames have held six opponents under 35 percent shooting (seven under 40 percent), including each of the last five. UIC has also limited five opponents to fewer than 50 points for the first time in more than 60 years (1949-50).

On Nov. 17 against Mercer, the Flames held the Bears to just 36 total points, the fewest for an opponent since the 1959-60 season, and against Roosevelt, UIC limited the Lakers to just 12 first-half points, which set a new UIC Pavilion record.

As a team, UIC is averaging 7.4 steals per game, with four players (Gary Talton, Daniel Barnes, Josh Crittle and Marc Brown) already collecting double-digit steals this season.

Offensively Speaking
While UIC's improved, stingy defense has been the main catalyst for its early-season turnaround, the Flames' balanced offense shouldn't be overshadowed. Heading into Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan, three players (Gary Talton, Hayden Humes and Daniel Barnes) have already scored 100 points on the season, while Josh Crittlehas scored 94 points.

RPI Tidbits
While the first version of the official NCAA Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) has not been released, plenty of media outlets and services have begun mirroring the NCAA RPI formula, which ranks all 345 Division I teams based on (1) Division I winning percentage (25 percent of RPI), (2) Opponent strength of schedule (50 percent) and (3) Opponents' opponent strength of schedule (25 percent). Below is a summary of where UIC currently stands in many of the outlets measuring RPI through the first one-third of the season. 28 (Yahoo! Sports): 28 27 30 21

Running the Show
Senior point guard Gary Taltonhas tallied his 29 career double-digit scoring outputs, including eight this season, but his efficiency in running the offense has been even more impressive. Talton has dished out 44 assists against just 13 turnovers, a Horizon League-best assist/turnover ratio of 3.4. For his two-year career, Talton has produced a 1.5 assist/turnover ratio, with 143 assists versus 95 turnovers.

All About Balance
The Flames may have found the recipe that will help them turn the corner this season: offensive balance. In eight-of its nine games, UIC has seen at least three players score in double figures. Additionally, UIC has had four players post double-digit scoring outputs in five individual contests.

Guards on the Boards
UIC has also enjoyed balance in the rebounding category, particularly in the backcourt. Entering Saturday's game against EMU, four players are averaging at least 4.4 rebounds per game, including point guard Gary Talton (4.6 rpg) and shooting guard Daniel Barnes(4.4).

Simonton Becomes Key Member of Flames' Rotation
Sophomore center Will Simonton, who played just a total of 121 minutes as a freshman, is an easy choice for UIC's Most Improved Player early this season. The Fairfax, Va., native is coming off his best all-around game as a Flame, having scored a career-high tying six points, recording two blocks, swiping a pair of steals and pulling down three rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench against Colorado State (12/8/12). Through nine games this season, Simonton has already played more minutes (122) than his entire freshman campaign. He is shooting 50 percent from the field (12-24) heading into Saturday's game against EMU.

Scouting the Eagles
Eastern Michigan, the defending MAC-West Champions, are off to a 6-2 start this season, with all six victories taking place at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Eagles are coming off a 47-44 upset win over visiting Purdue last Saturday (12/8/12). Derek Thompson enters Saturday's game as EMU's leading scorer, averaging 12.9 points per game. Arkansas transfer Glenn Bryant is scoring 10.8 points per contest to join Thompson in double figures. Freshman Jalen Ross is averaging a team-high 3.4 assists per game, while 7-footer Da'Shonte Riley, a transfer from Syracuse, is pulling down a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game. EMU, who is 0-2 in true road games this season, is coached by Detroit native Rob Murphy, who is in his second year at the helm. He was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year last season.

Barnes Suits Up Against Former Team
Senior guard Daniel Barnes, who began his Division I career at Eastern Michigan, will compete against his former team for the second-consecutive season on Saturday. He played one season at EMU (2008-09) before transferring to Kaskaskia College, where he completed his sophomore season of eligibility. Barnes scored 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers against the Eagles in the season opener (11/11/11) for both teams last November.

Last Season Against EMU
The Eagles picked up a 68-57 win at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, Mich. (11/11/11) in head coach Rob Murphy's first game ... UIC forward Paris Carter tallied a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds ... It marked the first-career games for UIC's Gary Talton, Marc Brown and Hayden Humes, who combined to score 11 points ... Derek Thompson, EMU's current leading scorer, scored a game-high 17 points, while Matt Balkema chipped in 10 points ... UIC guard Daniel Barnesscored 10 points in his first game at UIC in nearly one full calendar year (11/20/10).

New Kids on the Block
• UIC has nine new players on the 2012-13 roster, including five freshmen (two walk-ons), two sophomores and two seniors.
• Three of the newcomers have Division I experience: Josh Crittle (UCF), Joey Miller (Eastern Illinois) and Kelsey Barlow (Purdue). Barlow will sit out the entire 2012-13 season satisfying NCAA transfer rules. Crittle and Miller were both given immediate eligibility with the Flames.
Matt Gorski, Gabe Snider and Jake Wiegand are true freshmen, as are walk-ons Ngijol Songolo and Austin Angel.
Joey Miller and Jay Parker are sophomore eligible.
• Head coach Howard Moore's 2012-13 class was ranked at the "Head of the Class" by USA Today in the publication's season preview and "Rating the Recruiting" section.