Dec. 28, 2010
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Youngstown State Basketball Horizon League Weekly Release
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UIC'S POSSIBLE STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
#2 Paul Carter, Sr., F
NOTES: Has recorded 11 double-digit scoring outputs, and posted three double-doubles on the season ... Ranks third in the Horizon League in rebounding (7.8 rpg), and 11th overall in scoring (14.7 ppg) ... Scored his 500th career Division I point at Illinois State.
#3 Robo Kreps, Sr., G
NOTES: Has scored 20 or more points in five contests, and scored in double figures 10 total times ... Ranks seventh in the Horizon League in scoring (16.0 ppg) ... Is the Horizon League's career active leader in three-point field goals (188) ... Ranks 11th on UIC's all-time scoring list (1,313 points) ... Scored his 1,300th career point and dished out his 200th assist at Oregon State.
#23 Zavion Neely, Jr., G
NOTES: Has started all 13 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 ... Scored his 500th career point at Oregon State.
#34 Paris Carter, Jr., F
NOTES: Has started the past three 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, Jr., C
NOTES: Has started 11 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 against Illinois (12/18/10) ... 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.
Youngstown State: Jerry Slocum, one of just 17 active NCAA men's basketball coaches to record more than 600 career victories, is in his sixth season as the head coach at Youngstown State.
Slocum, who is in his 36th year as a head coach, came to Youngstown State after a nine-year tenure at Division II Gannon in Erie, Pa. He led the Golden Knights to a 179-78 record and six straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament. Gannon finished first -- three times -- or second in the South Division of the GLIAC in each of his nine years.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
UIC is 5-8 (0-1 Horizon) on the season, including a 1-4 mark in true road games. The Flames are coming off a 74-54 setback at Oregon State on Dec. 22.
Senior guard Robo Kreps is leading the Flames offensively, scoring 16.0 points per game -- he has also dished out a team-high 45 assists in his first full season running the point. Minnesota transfer, senior forward Paul Carter is averaging 14.7 points per game, while also leading the Flames in rebounding with 7.8 caroms per contest, third-best in the Horizon League. Kreps currently ranks seventh in the conference in scoring, while Carter ranks 11th.
UIC is averaging 62.3 points per game, and allowing its opponents to score 65.8 points per contest. The Flames are out-rebounding their opponents by nearly a three-carom margin (+2.4), and are averaging 5.0 steals and 2.5 blocks per game, respectively. UIC currently ranks fourth in the Horizon League in assists per game (12.9) and offensive rebounds (12.8 rpg).
SCOUTING THE PENGUINS
Youngstown State is 5-6 on the season, 5-0 at home, and has dropped two-straight non-conference decisions. The Penguins are coming off a 71-58 road loss at Kent State on Dec. 21.
Vytas Sulskis has been the offensive catalyst for Youngstown State, scoring a Horizon League fourth-best 17.0 points per game -- he also leads the Penguins in rebounding with 6.6 caroms per contest. Devonte Maymon is averaging 10.6 points per outing, while Damian Eargle (8.4), Kendrick Perry (7.5) and Ashen Ward (7.3) are all contributing more than seven points per game.
The Penguins currently rank second in the Horizon League in assists per game (14.0), and are converting a league-best 7.5 threes per contest. Besides Butler's Matt Howard, Sulskis is the only player in the Horizon League to rank in the top-five in both scoring and rebounding. He is also shooting a league third-best 55.6 percent from the field, including a 45.7 percent clip from three-point range. Eargle leads the league in blocks, averaging 3.0 terminations per game.
Collectively, YSU ranks 10th in the Horizon League in the following statistical categories: Scoring defense (70.5 ppg), field goal percentage (.404) and rebounding margin (-2.8). The Penguins also rank ninth in the conference in free throw percentage (.646).
BREAKING DOWN THE OREGON STATE GAME
Oregon State recorded the wire-to-wire win, marking just the second time this season that UIC has not enjoyed a lead ... Seniors Paul Carter (19) and Robo Kreps (21) both scored in double figures, tallying their respective 11th and 10th double-digit scoring outputs of the season ... The Beavers jumped out a 6-0 lead, and held the Flames without a field goal for the opening 4:32 ... Junior center Dorian Tyler played a season-high 15 minutes off the bench -- he scored four points and was one-of three Flames with a team-high seven rebounds ... UIC tallied a season-high five blocks for the second-consecutive game ... Oregon State shot 46.6 percent from the field, breaking a streak of four-straight games that UIC held its opponent under a 40 percent shooting clip ... Along with Tyler, Carter and Kreps each corralled seven rebounds ... UIC held a 37-35 advantage on the boards ... The Flames out-scored the Beavers 14-9 on second chance points, but were out-scored in the paint (32-18), off turnovers (17-7), on the fast break (10-0) and through the bench (31-8) ... Kreps' team-high 21 points were fueled by a season-high five three-point field goals.
BACK TO HORIZON LEAGUE PLAY
UIC wrapped up the non-conference portion of its schedule last Wednesday, and will now turn its attention to the 17-game Horizon League schedule that lies ahead. The Flames, who dropped a 68-66 overtime decision versus Valparaiso (12/2/10) in the conference opener, are one-of-two Horizon League teams that are not scheduled to participate in the ESPNU BracketBusters series next February. UIC has compiled a 10-26 record in Horizon League games the past two seasons, suffering two-straight losing campaigns in conference play. The Flames' last Horizon League road win was on February 27, 2009, when UIC topped rival Loyola, 62-58, at the Gentile Center.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Robo Kreps scored a team-high 21 points at Oregon State, his fifth performance this season with 20 or more points. In the process, Kreps passed the 1,300 career-point plateau, and eclipsed 200 assists for his career. Kreps is just the 11th player in program history to score at least 1,300 career points, and enters Thursday's game just 22 points shy of tying Tim Anderson (1980-84) for 10th on UIC's all-time scoring list (1,335). He is also on pace to be just the seventh player in program history to score at least 1,600 points. With his two assists against the Beavers, Kreps became only the third player in school history to score 1,300 or more points, and dish out at least 200 assists, joining Kenny Williams (1990-94) (UIC's current color commentator on the UIC Basketball Radio Network) and Josh Mayo (2005-09).
UIC holds a decisive 20-5 all-time series lead against Youngstown State, but the Penguins have won three-of the last five in the rivalry. The Flames and YSU first went head-to-head during the 1992-93 season, with UIC claiming an 89-71 win. UIC dominated the series early, winning the first 16 meetings -- the Penguins' first win over the Flames didn't take place until the 2006-07 campaign.
THE TRIP TO OHIO
Against Youngstown State and Cleveland State, the Flames will look to break a three-year streak of losing road contests versus both the Penguins and Vikings. The last time UIC defeated both YSU and CSU on the road was during the 2005-06 campaign.
KREPS IN HORIZON LEAGUE STATS
There is no shortage of Robo Kreps mentioning in the up-to-date Horizon League stats. Along with leading the league in minutes played (37.5 mpg), the preseason All-Horizon League second-team honoree ranks seventh in the conference in scoring (16.0 ppg), eighth in assists per game (3.5), third in free throw percentage (.843), eighth in steals (1.5 spg), third in three-point field goals per game (2.2), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.403) and seventh in defensive rebounds (4.0 rpg).
Senior forward Paul Carter has been the overwhelming catalyst for the Flames' success on the boards this season. The Horizon League's third-leading rebounder (7.8 rpg), Carter has led the Flames in rebounding seven times, and also grabbed nine or more caroms on six occasions.
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 their last win -- a 57-54 victory over Illinois, when UIC shot 45.5 percent from the field.
PLAYING THE PERCENTAGES
In eight-of the last nine 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 43.7 percent clip after last Wednesday's loss at Oregon State. In the previous four games, the Flames held Akron (.379), Illinois State (.367), Northern Illinois (.391) and the Fighting Illini (.327) all under a 40 percent shooting effort.
THE 70-POINT PLATEAU
Consequently, UIC's improved defensive effort has also had a direct result on its won-loss fate as the Flames enter Horizon League play. The magic defensive number could very well be 70: When the Flames allow their opponent to score 70 or more points, they are 0-4 on the season.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
UIC enters Thursday's game against Youngstown State ranked fourth in the Horizon League in assists per game (13.3). While senior guard Robo Kreps has dished out a team-high 45 assists, he has also had a little help from his friends. Paul Carter (28), Zavion Neely (29) and Brad Birton (21) have each dished out more than 20 helpers through the first 13 games of the season.
POINTS IN THE PAINT
UIC has scored 326 points in the paint this season, nearly 41 percent of its entire offensive output. The Flames have scored at least 20 points in the paint in 11-of their 13 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.