Dec. 21, 2010
Live Audio: WMVP-AM (ESPN Radio 1000) Play-by-Play: Adam Levinson Color: Kenny Williams
PROGRAMMING NOTE: WMVP-AM (ESPN Radio 1000) will join the broadcast (possibly in-progress) at the conclusion of the post-game show following the Chicago Bulls' road game against the Washington Wizards. That contest is set to tip-off at 6 p.m. CST.
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CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team will look to capture its third win over a 2010 postseason opponent Wednesday night, when the Flames take on host Oregon State at the Legendary Gill Coliseum beginning at 9 p.m. CST.
#2 Paul Carter, F, Sr.
NOTES: Has recorded 10 double-digit scoring outputs, and posted three double-doubles on the season ... Ranks third in the Horizon League in rebounding (7.9 rpg), and 10th overall in scoring (14.3 ppg) ... Scored his 500th career point (at Minnesota and UIC) at Illinois State.
#3 Robo Kreps, G, Sr.
NOTES: Has scored 20 or more points in four contests, and scored in double figures eight total times ... Ranks sixth in the Horizon League in scoring (15.4 ppg) ... Is the Horizon League's career active leader in three-point field goals (183) ... Ranks 11th on UIC's all-time scoring list (1,292 points) ... Enters Wednesday's game at Oregon State with 199 career assists.
#23 Zavion Neely, G, Jr.
NOTES: Has started all 12 games, regularly drawing the assignment as the Flames' "chaser" on defense ... Has recorded six double-digit scoring efforts ... Scored a season-high 22 points on a career-best three three pointers against Toledo on Nov. 28 ... Enters Wednesday's game with 498 career points.
#34 Paris Carter, F, Jr.
NOTES: Has started the past two games ... Recorded season-highs in points (10), field goals made (5) and minutes played (30) at Northern Illinois (12/11/10) in first-career start ... Came off the bench in nine-of the previous 10 contests in an average of 20.2 minutes per game.
#32 Darrin Williams, C, Jr.
NOTES: Has started 10 contests ... Against Northern Illinois (12/11/10), scored a team and season-high 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, and led the Flames with seven rebounds ... Tipped-in the game winner last Saturday against Illinois ... Season-high nine rebounds versus Rhode Island on Nov. 21.
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 an 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.
Oregon State: Craig Robinson, who also spent two seasons as the head coach at Brown, is in his third year at the helm of the Oregon State program.
In his first season (2008-09) at Oregon State, Robinson helped lead a turnaround that culminated in the Beavers capturing the College Basketball Invitational title. Last season (2009-10), the Beavers finished tied for fifth in the Pacific 10 Conference (8-10), tying for their most Pac-10 wins since 1992-93. OSU also advanced to the CBI for the second-straight campaign.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
UIC is 5-7 (0-1 Horizon) on the season, including a 1-3 mark in true road games. The Flames are coming off last Saturday's 57-54 upset win over No. 12/14 Illinois at the United Center in Chicago.
Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 15.6 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 43 assists in his first full season running the point. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.5 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 7.9 caroms per contest, third-best in the Horizon League. Kreps currently ranks sixth in the conference in scoring, while Carter ranks 10th.
UIC is averaging 63.0 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 65.1 points per contest. The Flames are out-rebounding their opponents by nearly a three-carom margin (+2.4), and are averaging 5.3 steals and 2.3 blocks per game, respectively. UIC currently ranks fourth in the Horizon League in assists per game (13.3) and rebounding margin.
SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
Oregon State is 4-6 on the season, 3-3 at home, and has dropped two-straight non-conference decisions. The Beavers are coming off an 87-79 home loss at the hands of George Washington last Saturday.
Three players are averaging double figures in scoring, with a total of six scoring at least seven points per contest. Sophomore guard Jared Cunningham is averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game, while Calvin Haynes has scored 12.0 points per contest, and Omari Johnson has added 11.4 points and a team-leading 6.9 rebounds per game.
The Beavers are averaging 11.9 steals per game, which leads the Pac-10, and ranks second in the nation -- Cunningham leads the conference with a total of 31 thefts. Calvin Haynes is shooting 82.2 percent from the free throw line, which ranks second in the league, while Johnson ranks in the top-10 of the league in both offensive (2.4) and defensive (4.5) rebounds.
Collectively, OSU ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in the following statistical categories: Scoring defense (72.9 ppg), defensive field goal percentage (.456), three-point field goal percentage (.304), defensive three-point field goal percentage (.384), rebounding margin (-3.1) and blocks per game (1.60).
BREAKING DOWN THE ILLINOIS GAME
The victory marked UIC's first over the Fighting Illini since the 1990-91 season, and tied for the Flames' biggest win over a ranked opponent in the program's history - UIC defeated No. 12 Butler (73-67 in OT) at the UIC Pavilion on Jan. 10, 2007 ... Seniors Paul Carter (12) and Robo Kreps (15) both scored in double figures, tallying their respective ninth and eighth double-digit scoring outputs of the season ... Junior guard Zavion Neely added 11 points for his sixth double-digit scoring performance ... The Flames jumped out to an 11-2 lead, and led by as many as 10 points (18-8) in the first half ... UIC tallied a season-high five blocks, and held Illinois to just a 32.7 percent clip from the field, the lowest mark for an opponent this season ... Kreps hit four three-pointers for the third time this season... Senior forward Brad Birton corralled nine rebounds (four offensive boards), pacing the Flames in rebounding for the second time this season ... UIC held a 36-34 advantage on the boards, improving to 4-2 on the season when out-rebounding its opponent ... Despite enduring their own field goal draught of 10:46 mid-way through the second half, the Flames held the Fighting Illini without a field goal for the final 5:02 to preserve the win ... UIC improved to 2-3 this season in games decided by five points or less.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
UIC's starting backcourt enters Wednesday's contest at Oregon State within reach of some significant milestones. Senior guard Robo Kreps has 1,292 career points, just eight tallies short of 1,300; and also enters the game with 199 career assists, only one helper short of 200. Junior guard Zavion Neely has scored 498 career points, and is just one field goal away from scoring his 500th career point.
NEW FRONTCOURT COMBO?
Juniors Darrin Williams and Paris Carter have started alongside each other in UIC's frontcourt during each of the past two games, the most recent shift in head coach Howard Moore's starting lineup. In those two contests, the duo has responded by scoring a combined 37 points on a 78.9 percent (15-19) clip from the field. The tandem also combined to corral 20 rebounds against Northern Illinois and nationally-ranked Illinois.
POINT N' SHOOT
All five of UIC's wins this season have come when the Flames shoot a higher percentage than their opponents. In all five of those contests, the Flames shot better than a 40 percent clip, including in Saturday's win over Illinois, when UIC shot 45.5 percent from the field.
BECOMING A PRESENCE
In Saturday's postgame press conference at the United Center, head coach Howard Moore referred to junior center Darrin Williams' continuing development, and the fact that he was starting to "become a presence" for the Flames. The proof is in the numbers; in the past four games, Williams is averaging 9.3 points (his season average is 6.2) and 5.0 rebounds per game on a blistering 73.7 percent clip from the field. He has also committed just 10 combined personal fouls in the past four contests.
LAST SEASON AGAINST OREGON STATE
Senior guard Robo Kreps drove in for the go-ahead layup with 5.6 seconds left to cap a rally from a seven-point deficit in the game's final three minutes for the Flames in a 63-61 comeback win over Oregon State at the UIC Pavilion on Dec. 16, 2009. Kreps scored a game-high 19 points, including eight in the final 2:53, for the Flames, who snapped a six-game skid. Seth Tarver led the Beavers with 17 points.
The victory marked UIC's first-ever win over a Pac-10 team and was the first time the Flames defeated a BCS school at the Pavilion since beating Ole Miss during the 2005-06 campaign.
SHOULDERING THE LOAD
As mentioned, UIC's senior combination of Robo Kreps (15.6 ppg) and Paul Carter (14.3) both rank in the top-10 of the Horizon League in scoring. The only other team to have multiple players represented in the Horizon League's top-10 in scoring is Butler, with Matt Howard (17.9 ppg) ranking second, and Shelvin Mack (14.7) sitting eighth.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES
In each of the last eight games, UIC's defensive field goal percentage has steadily improved, decreasing from a 50 percent mark following the College of Charleston game (11/20/10), to a 42.3 percent clip after Saturday's win over Illinois. In their last four games, the Flames have held Akron (.379), Illinois State (.367), Northern Illinois (.391) and the Fighting Illini (.327) all under a 40 percent shooting effort.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Senior guard Robo Kreps scored a team-high 15 points against Illinois Saturday, passing John Ellis (1981-84) for 11th on UIC's all-time scoring list. Kreps is now 43 points away from cracking the top-10, and is on pace to become just the ninth player in program history to compile 1,500 or more career points.
Senior forward Paul Carter has been the overwhelming catalyst for the Flames' success on the boards this season. The Horizon League's second-leading rebounder (7.9 rpg), Carter has led the Flames in rebounding six times, and also grabbed nine or more caroms on six occasions.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
UIC enters Wednesday's game against Oregon State ranked fourth in the Horizon League in assists per game (13.3). While senior guard Robo Kreps has dished out a team-high 43 assists, he has also had a little help from his friends. Paul Carter (27), Zavion Neely (25) and Brad Birton (21) have each dished out more than 20 helpers through the first 12 games of the season.
POINTS IN THE PAINT
UIC has scored 308 points in the paint this season, nearly 41 percent of its entire offensive output (756 total points). The Flames have scored at least 20 points in the paint in 11-of their 12 games this season.
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 served as Minnesota's Sixth Man the past two seasons, helping the Golden Gophers reach a pair of NCAA Tournaments.
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 started her high school career at King High School in Chicago this 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.