Flames Wrap Up Month of December at Toledo Saturday Afternoon

Senior guard Daniel Barnes
Senior guard Daniel Barnes

Dec. 28, 2012

UIC at Toledo Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

Game #13: UIC Flames (9-3) at Toledo Rockets (3-6)
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012• John F. Savage Arena (Toledo, Ohio) • 1:00 p.m. CST
Audio: UIC Flames Radio Network • Flagship: ESPN Chicago (WMVP-AM 1000)/
Radio Talent: Justin Weiner (Play-by-Play)/Kenny Williams (Color Commentary)
UIC Head Coach: Howard Moore • Record at UIC/Overall as Head Coach: 24-49 (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
November 26, 2011
Toledo, Ohio (Savage Arena)
Men's Basketball Comes up Short at Toledo, 82-67
Sophomore transfer Hayden Humes recorded his first double-double of the season, and junior college transfer Gary Talton added 10 points, but Toledo jumped out to a 22-5 lead, and held off a second-half rally to defeat the UIC men's basketball team, 82-67, Saturday night at Savage Arena.

#4 Gary Talton • PG
The Flames' leading scorer. Paces the Horizon League in both assists and steals (1.8 spg), while ranking second in assist/turnover ratio (2.6). Scored a team-high 15 points at Miami University, eclipsing the 500-point plateau for his career. Member of the 2012 Horizon League All-Newcomer Team.

#1 Daniel Barnes • SG
The Flames' second-leading scorer. Has drilled a Horizon League second-best 32 three-point field goals this season, an average of 2.7 threes per game. Hit four threes at Miami (Ohio), becoming the 11th player in program history to convert at least 100 career three-pointers (101). Averaged a team second-best 10.4 points per game last season.

#10 Marc Brown • SF/W
Has started all 12 games this season, and played at least 30 minutes in six games. The Flames' best perimeter defender. Shooting 81.3 percent (26-32) from the free throw line. Averaging 7.7 points per game over the last six contests. Scored exactly 200 points in freshman season, starting 27 contests.

#13 Hayden Humes • PF
The Flames' leading rebounder and third-leading scorer. Ranks fifth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.491) and fourth overall in three-point field goal percentage (.458). Began his Division I career at Toledo (2009-11). Came off the bench to produce a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) against the Rockets last season. UIC's career active leader in both rebounds and blocks.

#34 Josh Crittle • C
Has posted double-digit scoring efforts in seven-of the last nine games. Enters Saturday's game as UIC's second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer. Averaging 2.6 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 owns a decisive 5-1 all-time series advantage against Toledo -- the Flames and Rockets have gone head-to-head in each of the past five seasons during non-conference play. UT recorded an 82-67 win over the visiting Flames last November (11/26/11).

Setting the Scene
The first-place UIC men's basketball team will look to collect its third non-conference road win Saturday, when the Flames travel to the Glass City to take on Toledo beginning at 1:00 p.m. CST. UIC will be facing its fourth Mid-American Conference foe of the season, including its third opponent from the MAC-West.

What to Watch For
Contrasting styles of play and tempo. The main staple that led UIC to its record-setting 9-1 start to the season was its stingy defense. The Flames enter Saturday's game surrendering just 55.7 points per game, the 14th-best mark in the country, while Toledo averages 64.4 points per contest. UIC has allowed its opponents to score more than 70 points just twice, while the Rockets have scored 70 or more points in five-of their nine games.

Recent Rocket Rivalry
As mentioned, UIC and Toledo have gone head-to-head six times in the past five seasons. Four of those games have been played at Savage Arena, with the other two contests taking place at the UIC Pavilion. Below is a summary of the recent series between the Flames and Rockets.

• 12/23/08 (John F. Savage Arena): UIC 65, Toledo 55
Spencer Stewart scored a game-high 15 points to hold off late Toledo surge. Flames led by 15 points (36-21) at halftime.
• 12/29/09 (UIC Pavilion): UIC 66, Toledo 52
Robo Kreps poured in game-high 20 points, and dished out five assists vs. zero turnovers.
• 11/19/10 (John F. Savage Arena): UIC 57, Toledo 51
In the second round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer, UIC posted its second victory of the season, and head coach Howard Moore's first-career road win. Robo Kreps' game-high 20 points led trio of Flames in double figures.
• 11/28/10 (UIC Pavilion): UIC 63, Toledo 62
Just nine days after defeating Toledo in the 2K Sports Classic, the Flames edged the Rockets at the Pavilion. Robo Kreps drilled a three-pointer from top of the key with nine seconds remaining to give UIC the lead for good.
• 11/26/11 (John F. Savage Arena): Toledo 82, UIC 67
Toledo's Rian Pearson poured in 27 points on 10 field goals; Rockets led 45-25 at halftime.

What's Trending?
• Senior guard Daniel Barnes has scored in double figures in eight-of the past nine games - he chipped in 14 points on four three-point field goals at Miami University. Over the past nine games, Barnes is averaging 13.2 points per contest. He has also drilled at least four three-pointers in three-of the last four contests.
• Senior point guard Gary Talton has handed out at least four assists in seven games, and dished out three or more helpers 11-of-12 contests. The Dallas native is averaging 5.2 assists per game over the past five contests.
• Dating back to last season, Talton has tallied double-digit scoring outputs in 16-of the last 19 contests.
• In road games, senior center Josh Crittle (11.8 ppg), senior point guard Gary Talton (10.3) and junior forward Hayden Humes (10.3) have all averaged double figures in scoring. Humes has been the catalysts on the boards in road games, averaging 6.3 rebounds per contest - he has pulled down a combined 15 rebounds in the Flames' past two road contests (7.5 rpg).
• In the past two games, Crittle has scored 24 points (12.0 ppg) and dished out six assists (3.0 apg) against just one combined turnover.
• Sophomore guard Joey Miller is giving head coach Howard Moore productive minutes off the bench. In the past two games, Miller has played a combined 49 minutes (24.5 mpg) and scored a total of 26 points (13.0 ppg).
• Sophomore wing Marc Brownhas scored seven or more points in five-of the last six games. He enters Saturday's game averaging 5.9 points per game on the season.

2012-13 Season Snapshot
• Senior point guard Gary Talton is averaging a team-high 12.8 points per game, with a total of 153 points on the season. Talton also leads the Flames in both assists (57) and steals (21). He enters Saturday's game with 502 career points after scoring a team-high 15 points at Miami University.
• Junior forward Hayden Humes is averaging a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game - he pulled down a team-high six rebounds last Saturday at Miami (Ohio). Humes is also shooting 49.1 percent from the field and a team-best 45.8 percent from three-point range.
• Talton (12.8 ppg; 9th), senior guard Daniel Barnes (12.3 ppg; 13th) and Humes (11.4; 17th) all rank in the Horizon League's top-20 in scoring.
• Talton, Barnes, Humes, sophomore forward Marc Brown and senior center Josh Crittle have each started all 12 games for the Flames this season. That group is currently occupying 77.5 percent of UIC's minutes played.
• UIC currently has three players shooting at least 80 percent from the free throw line - Talton (.868), Humes (.846) and Brown (.813).
• UIC enters Saturday's game at Toledo leading the Horizon League in scoring defense (55.7 ppg), free throw percentage (.765) and defensive field goal percentage (.381), while ranking second in scoring margin (+8.7), three-point percentage (.363), three-point field goal defense (.280), turnover margin (+3.5) and three-point field goals made (7.6).
• UIC returns four starters (Talton, Barnes, Brown, Humes) from the 2011-12 team, including four-of its top five scorers. Overall, the Flames brought 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. The Flames are 2-0 this season against 2012 NCAA Tournament foes (Iona and Colorado State).
• 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. The Flames will begin League play next Wednesday (Jan. 2), when Youngstown State visits the UIC Pavilion.

UIC vs. Miami University Recap
The UIC men's basketball team shot 47.2 percent from the floor, its most efficient effort in the past seven games, but dropped an 82-70 decision versus host Miami University last Saturday at Millett Hall. The RedHawks shot 56.6 percent from the field and forced the Flames into a season-high 19 turnovers.

UIC placed five players in double figures, led by senior point guard Gary Talton's 15 points. For the second-straight game, sophomore guard Joey Millerrecorded a double-digit scoring output, chipping in 11 points off the bench. Miami was led by Elmhurst, Ill., native Will Sullivan, who scored a game-high 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

Seniors Daniel Barnes (14 points) and Josh Crittle (11) and junior forward Hayden Humes(10) joined Talton and Miller in double figures. It marked the first time since Dec. 14, 2010 at Northern Illinois that UIC had five players score in double digits.

Humes Returns to Toledo
For the second-straight season, junior forward Hayden Humeswill be making the return trip to the Glass City to compete against his former team. The Valparaiso, Ind., native began his college career at Toledo before transferring to UIC prior to last season. After medically redshirting at UT during the 2009-10 campaign, Humes played in all 32 games with 11 starts during the 2010-11 season, averaging 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. That included a double-double against UIC (12 points, 10 rebounds) during the 2K Sports Classic. Last season, Humes doubled up the Rockets with 11 points and 10 rebounds. For his three-year Division I career, Humes has scored 567 points and corralled a total of 402 rebounds.

Flames Move to No. 17 in Latest Mid-Major Top-25
Despite coming up short in back-to-back non-conference road decisions last week, the UIC men's basketball team dropped just two spots, from No. 15 to No. 17, 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 four weeks, after debuting at No. 22 on Monday, Dec. 3.

Making Their Mark
With its win over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 15, UIC surpassed its entire win total from the 2011-12 campaign (8). Through the first 12 games of the season, the Flames are on pace to post one of the biggest turnarounds 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 75.0 heading into Saturday's game at Toledo, an increase of 48.33 percent.

On the Fast Track
UIC is off to a 9-3 start for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, when the Flames went 24-8 (13-5 Horizon) and captured the Horizon League Tournament Championship en route to a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to its loss at Western Illinois on Dec. 18, UIC was 9-1 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 "Big Dance" for the first time in school history.

Stacking Up Against the Nation's Best
In the Dec. 24 version of the NCAA statistics, UIC ranked 14th in the nation in scoring defense (5.7 ppg), 33rd in defensive field goal percentage (.381) and 24th in three-point field goal defense (.280). UIC was also well-represented on the offensive end, where the Flames ranked 13th in turnovers per game (10.9) and 11th overall in free throw percentage (.765). Notably, UIC is also ranked in the top-60 in three-point field goals per game (7.6; 58th), assist/turnover ratio (1.2; 54th) and turnover margin (3.5; 35th).

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 six-of the last eight. 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 Saturday's game at Toledo, four players (Gary Talton, Hayden Humes, Daniel Barnes and Josh Crittle) have already scored 100 points on the season.

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 43 (Yahoo! Sports): 43 42 46 37

Running the Show
Senior point guard Gary Taltonhas tallied his 31 career double-digit scoring outputs, including 10 this season, but his efficiency in running the offense has been even more noteworthy. Talton has dished out 57 assists against just 22 turnovers, a Horizon League second-best assist/turnover ratio of 2.6. For his two-year career, Talton has produced a 1.5 assist/turnover ratio, with 156 assists versus 104 turnovers.

Danny ... For 3!
Over the past two years, senior guard Daniel Barneshas shown an ability to score in bunches from beyond the three-point arc. In 47 games played, Barnes has drilled 101 three-pointers, an average of 2.14 threes per game. With just three more three-point field goals, Barnes will crack the top-10 of UIC's career three-point field goals made list. Barnes has converted six three-point field goals twice in his career.

All About Balance
The Flames may have found the recipe that will help them turn the corner this season: offensive balance. In nine-of its 12 games, UIC has seen at least three players score in double figures. Additionally, UIC has had four players post double-digit scoring outputs in six individual contests.

Guards on the Boards
UIC has also enjoyed balance in the rebounding category, particularly in the backcourt. Entering Saturday's game at Toledo, five players are averaging at least 3.5 rebounds per game, including point guard Gary Talton (4.4 rpg), shooting guard Daniel Barnes (3.9) and 6-foot-4 wing Marc Brown(3.5).

Scouting the Rockets
Toledo will be playing its first game since Dec. 8, and just its second home game of the season on Saturday. The Rockets, who defeated host Eastern Illinois in their last outing (12/8/12), are led by Rian Pearson, who is scoring a Mid-American Conference best 19.2 points per game to go along with a team-high 6.2 rebounds per contest. Julius Brown is averaging 14.9 points per game, while Matt Smith (8.8 ppg), Reese Holliday (8.8), Dominique Buckley (8.6) and Nathan Boone (7.6) are all scoring at least 7.5 points per contest.

Tod Kowalczyk, the former head coach at Horizon League member Green Bay, is in his third season at the helm of the Rockets program. He led UT to 19 wins and a postseason berth in the Tournament last spring.

Attack on the MAC
Against Toledo, UIC will be playing its fourth member of the Mid-American Conference this season, and its third opponent from the MAC-West. The Flames defeated Northern Illinois (58-46) in DeKalb on Nov. 27, dominated Eastern Michigan (74-48) at the UIC Pavilion on Dec. 15, and dropped an 82-70 decision at Miami (Ohio) last Saturday. During head coach Howard Moore'sthree-year tenure, the Flames have played 12 games against Mid-American Conference foes, going 5-7 in those contests.

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.