Men's Hoops Begins Road Swing at Western Illinois Tuesday

Dec. 17, 2012

UIC at Western Illinois Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Game #11: UIC Flames (9-1) at Western Illinois Leathernecks (7-3)
Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 • Waste Management Court at Western Hall (Macomb, Ill.) • 7:00 p.m.
Audio: (Webcast) • Justin Weiner (play-by-play)/Kenny Williams (color)
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UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 24-47 (3rd season)
UIC Athletic Communications Contact: Brett McWethy • Office Phone: 312.996.5880
Cell Phone: 815.751.1015 • E-mail: • Pavilion Press Row: 312.413.5712/5710
Twitter Coverage: @UICFlamesSID/@uicflamesdotcom • Hashtags: #uicbasketball, #HLMBB

The Last Meeting
Western Illinois56
December 19, 2011
Chicago, Ill. (UIC Pavilion)
Talton's Game-Winning Shot Lifts UIC over Western Illinois, 57-56
Junior point guard Gary Talton sank a driving layup with just 3.2 seconds remaining, helping the UIC men's basketball erase a late-game eight-point deficit to edge visiting Western Illinois at the UIC Pavilion Monday night, 57-56.

#4 Gary Talton • PG
The Flames' leading scorer, and paces the Horizon League in assists, steals (1.9 spg) and assist/turnover ratio (3.6). Scored 12 points, dished out seven assists against just one turnover, and swiped four steals against Eastern Michigan. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#1 Daniel Barnes • SG
Has drilled a Horizon League-best 28 three-point field goals this season, an average of 2.8 threes per game. Poured in a career-high 30 points on six three-point field goals against Eastern Michigan. Enters Tuesday's game with 97 career three-pointers. Averaged a team second-best 10.4 points per game last season.

#10 Marc Brown • SF/W
Slated to make his 25th-consecutive start against Western Illinois (dating back to last season). UIC's best perimeter defender. Averaging 8.3 points over the past four games. Shooting 80.0 percent (24-30) from the free throw line. Scored exactly 200 points in freshman season, starting 27 contests.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
One of three Flames scoring in double figures on the season, and along with Josh Crittle, leads UIC in rebounding average. Ranks third in the Horizon League in both field goal percentage (.517) and three-point field goal percentage (.500). Dating back to the 2011-12 campaign, has posted double-digit scoring outputs in 14-of the last 20 games.

#34 Josh Crittle • C
Has posted double-digit scoring efforts in five-of the last seven games. Enters Tuesday's game as the Flames' leading rebounder along with Hayden Humes. Averaging 2.5 assists per game, second-most on the team. Playing 27.0 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 and Western Illinois will be going head-to-head for the second-straight year, but for just the second time since the 1997-98 season (12/4/97), which ended in the Flames' first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. UIC has won nine-straight over Western Illinois in the all-time series, including last season's 57-56 win at the UIC Pavilion.

Setting the Scene
The first-place UIC men's basketball team will look to collect its third road victory of the season and keep its month-long winning streak alive, when the Flames travel to Macomb, Ill., to take on Western Illinois Tuesday beginning at 7:00 p.m. CST. The match-up will pit two-of the top defensive teams in the country.

What to Watch For
A pair of aggressive man-to-man defensive teams. Western Illinois enters Tuesday's game ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense (51.1 ppg), while UIC is fifth (51.6 ppg) in the category. Additionally, the Flames are limiting their opponents to just a 24.4 percent output from three-point range, which ranks ninth in the country. The Leathernecks have been stingy on the defensive end without fouling - WIU ranks seventh in the nation in personal fouls per game (13.0).

Streak City
With a win over Western Illinois, UIC would extend its winning streak to nine games -- the Flames haven't lost a game in 32 days (Nov. 17), when they dropped a 66-59 decision versus nationally-ranked New Mexico in the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The last time UIC won nine-consecutive games in a single-season was in 1983-84, when the Flames rolled off 13-straight late-season victories. That team, coached by Willie Little, went 22-7 and had its season ended by Western Illinois in the AMCU-8 Conference Tournament.

Familiar Coaching Rivals
UIC Head Coach Howard Moore and Associate Head Coach Al Biancalanahave great familiarity with Western Illinois Head Coach Jim Molinari. Moore (2000-05) and Biancalana (1999-05) broke into the Division I coaching ranks by serving as assistants on Molinari's staff when he was the head coach at Bradley. With the Braves, Molinari amassed a 174-152 record and guided the program to the postseason six times.

What's Trending?
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes has scored in double figures in each of the past seven games, and is averaging 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds during that stretch. Barnes is coming off a career-high 30-point performance against Eastern Michigan, bolstered by six three-pointers.
• Senior point guard Gary Talton has handed out at least four assists in seven games, and dished out three or more helpers nine-of-10 contests. The Dallas native had seven assists against just one turnover against EMU.
• In road games, three UIC players are averaging double figures in scoring, led by junior forward Hayden Humes' 13.0 points per game. Senior center Josh Crittle is averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per road game, while Barnes has scored 10.5 points to go along with 7.0 rebounds on the road. Talton has been limited to an average of 9.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game in the Flames' two road wins this season.
• Dating back to last season, Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 15-of the last 17 contests.
• Talton, who enters Tuesday's game leading the Horizon League in assists, assist/turnover ratio and steals, has dished out an average of 6.7 assists during the past three contests.
• Humes has been held to single-digit scoring performances in consecutive games for the first time this season. Humes chipped in eight points against Eastern Michigan, and was held to just two points versus Colorado State.
• Sophomore wing Marc Brownis averaging just 5.8 points per game on the season, but over the past four contests, is scoring 8.3 points per contest.

• Senior guards Daniel Barnes (13.9 ppg) and Gary Talton (13.3) and junior forward Hayden Humes (12.0) are all averaging double figures in scoring.
• UIC is averaging 66.4 points per game, and giving up just 49.8 points per contest, a scoring margin of +16.6.
• The Flames have swiped 65 total steals (8.1 spg) over the eight games, while their opponents have recorded just 29 steals (3.6 spg). UIC has also averaged 13.8 assists versus just 8.4 turnovers during the stretch.
• UIC has made 152 trips to the free throw line over the eight games, compared to just 105 attempts for its opponents.
• The Flames are out-scoring their opponents by an average of 11 points in the second half (38.6-27.6) during the streak.

2012-13 Season Snapshot
• Senior guards Gary Talton and Daniel Barnes are both averaging a team-high 13.0 points per game, with a total of 130 points on the season. Talton also leads the Flames in both assists (51) and steals (19).
• Junior forward Hayden Humes and Josh Crittle are both pulling down 5.6 rebounds per game to lead the Flames in the category. Humes is also shooting 51.7 percent from the field and a team-best 50 percent from three-point range.
• Barnes (13.0 ppg; t-10th), Talton (13.0; t-10th) and Humes (12.2; 15th) all rank in the Horizon League's top-15 in scoring.
• Talton, Barnes, Humes, sophomore forward Marc Brown and senior center Josh Crittle have each started all 10 games for the Flames this season. That group is currently occupying 77.2 percent of UIC's minutes played.
• UIC currently has three players shooting at least 80 percent from the free throw line - Humes (.900), Talton (.875) and Brown (.800).
• 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 was picked to finish eighth in the nine-team preseason Horizon League poll, conducted by the League's coaches, media and sports information directors.

UIC vs. Eastern Michigan Recap
Senior guard Daniel Barnespoured in a career-high 30 points and the UIC men's basketball team stifled Eastern Michigan to just 33.9 percent shooting, leading to a convincing 74-48 win over the Eagles at the UIC Pavilion last Saturday.

With the win, UIC improved to 9-1 on the season, its best 10-game start since the 1997-98 campaign. EMU, who defeated Purdue last Saturday, dropped to 6-3 overall. Joining Barnes in double figures for UIC was senior point guard Gary Talton, who scored 12 points. EMU was led by Glenn Bryant, who chipped in 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting.

For the seventh time this season, UIC held its opponent under 35 percent shooting (.339), and also limited the opposition to fewer than 50 points for the sixth time this year.

Barnes Collects HL Player of the Week Honors
For his 30-point outburst against EMU, senior guard Daniel Barneswas named the Horizon League Player of the Week, League officials announced from their Indianapolis-based headquarters Monday.

Barnes, who appeared in 12 games for Eastern Michigan in 2008-09, busted the Eagles' 2-3 zone with a career-high 10 field goals, including a career-best six three-pointers. He scored 15 points in both the first and second halves. Barnes became the first UIC player to score 30 or more points in a single game since Jeremy Buttellat Youngstown State on Jan. 7, 2010, a span of 86 games.

Flames Climb to No. 15 in Latest Mid-Major Top-25
After improving to 5-0 at home this season with a 74-48 win over Eastern Michigan at the Pavilion last Saturday, the UIC men's basketball team jumped one spot from No. 16 to No. 15 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 have been ranked in the poll for each of the past three weeks, after debuting at No. 22 on Monday, Dec. 3.

Making Their Mark
With its win over EMU last Saturday, UIC surpassed 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 the biggest turnaround among the 345 teams in the Division ranks. UIC won just 26.7 percent of its games last season (8-22, 3-15 Horizon), but this season, owns a winning percentage of 90.0 heading into Tuesday's game against Western Illinois, an increase of 63.3 percent.

On the Fast Track
UIC is off to a 9-1 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.

Climbing to the Top (Of the Nation)
In the Dec. 17 version of the NCAA statistics, UIC ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense (51.6 ppg), 10th in defensive field goal percentage (.351) and ninth in three-point field goal defense (.244). UIC is also well-represented on offense, where the Flames rank seventh in turnovers per game (10.3) and 30th overall in assist/turnover ratio (1.31).

Gettin' Defensive
UIC is on its way to enjoying its most successful team defensive season in program history. The Flames have held seven opponents under 35 percent shooting (eight under 40 percent), including each of the last six. UIC has also limited six 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.

Offensively Speaking
While UIC's vastly improved, stingy defense has been the main catalyst for its early-season turnaround, the Flames' balanced offense shouldn't be overshadowed. Heading into Tuesday's game at Western Illinois, 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 10 games of the season. (formerly 24 (Yahoo! Sports): 25 24 24 21

Running the Show
Senior point guard Gary Taltonhas tallied his 30 career double-digit scoring outputs, including nine this season, but his efficiency in running the offense has been even more noteworthy. Talton has dished out 51 assists against just 14 turnovers, a Horizon League-best assist/turnover ratio of 3.6. For his two-year career, Talton has produced a 1.6 assist/turnover ratio, with 150 assists versus 96 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 10 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 Tuesday's game at WIU, four players are averaging at least 4.0 rebounds per game, including point guard Gary Talton (4.7 rpg) and shooting guard Daniel Barnes(4.1).

Scouting the Leathernecks
Western Illinois has been idle since Dec. 8, but is riding a five-game winning streak heading into Tuesday night's non-conference showdown. The Leathernecks are led by senior guard Ceola Clark, the school's all-time leader in steals - he also ranks second all-time in both three-point field goals and assists. Clark is averaging a team-high 13.9 points per game this season. Terell Parks has joined Clark in double figures, scoring 12.9 points per contest to go along with a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game. WIU is 2-0 at home this season, and has already played a pair of conference games, going 2-0 on its first Summit League road trip at South Dakota (11/29/12) and Kansas City (12/1/12).

On the Road Again
Life away from the UIC Pavilion hasn't exactly been kind to the Flames in recent years. Heading into the 2012-13 season, UIC had won just a combined three road games in as many seasons, dating back to the 2009-10 campaign. All three of those victories took place in non-conference play. But early on this season, UIC has begun to buck that trend. The Flames are 2-0 in true road contests, winning consecutive games against Chicagoland non-conference foes Northern Illinois (11/27/12) and Northwestern (12/1/12) before their recently completed three-game homestand.

Last Season Against Western Illinois
Point guard Gary Taltonsank a driving layup with just 3.2 seconds remaining, helping the UIC men's basketball team erase a late-game eight-point deficit to edge visiting Western Illinois, 57-56, at the UIC Pavilion on Dec. 19, 2011.

Talton nearly single-handedly completed the comeback, scoring UIC's final seven points. The game-winning shot was set-up after Talton stole Western Illinois' in-bound pass with just over eight seconds remaining. He came off a high ball screen, sliced to the basket in traffic, and laid the ball off glass to seal the win. UIC trailed 55-47 with 2:25 remaining.

Daniel Barnesscored a game-high 22 points, while Talton ended the game with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, and dished out six assists. Western Illinois was led by Ceola Clark, who scored 17 points.

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.