Illinois-Chicago (5-20) at Youngstown State (13-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 7:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Beeghly Center (6,500) -- Youngstown, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: UIC 2-9, YSU 9-3. Away Record: UIC 1-9, YSU 2-10. Neutral Record: UIC 2-2, YSU 2-0. Conference Record: UIC 0-11, YSU 4-7. Series Record: Illinois-Chicago leads, 24-8.
GAME NOTES: The one team still without a victory in Horizon League play this season, the Flames of Illinois-Chicago try yet again to break through as they challenge the Youngstown State Penguins on the road tonight.
It is not enough that UIC has come up empty in all 11 conference games, the team is actually trudging along with a 14-game losing streak. The last victory for the Flames took place against Purdue Calumet (88-61) back on Dec. 17, and three days earlier the team defeated Southeast Missouri State (75-69) for the most recent triumph over a Division I foe.
On Thursday night, the Flames were pitted against Cleveland State on the road and were blown away by the Vikings, 73-53.
As for the Penguins, they too took the floor two nights ago and were thrashed by their opponent, Green Bay, in a 71-40 final. The loss was the fourth in a row and the fifth in six tries for a program that is 4-7 in league play. Youngstown State enters play on Saturday near the bottom of the Horizon standings as well.
While this season has been a disaster for the Flames, the good news for the team heading into the weekend is that they have a decided advantage in the all-time series with YSU, posting 24 wins in 32 opportunities. Then again, the Penguins did win the first meeting of the season last month on the road by a score of 75-62.
The Flames went from making just nine field goals in the first half against Cleveland State a few nights ago, to a mere eight baskets after the break, allowing the Vikings to run away with the convincing win. Kelsey Barlow led the starters with 12 points, but it was Hayden Humes who dropped in a team- best 13 points, shooting only 2-of-8 behind the 3-point line, as he made his return to game action after missing time due to an eye injury last month.
Barlow currently paces the Flames on offense with his 14.6 ppg, although he is shooting just 39.0 percent from the floor. Then again, keeping him off the floor means he's not around to pull down 5.0 rpg or lead the program in assists (95) either. Marc Brown is responsible for another 12.1 ppg, the only other player in double figures for a program that is producing 67.2 ppg, but allowing 73.6 ppg.
The Penguins experienced both the good and the bad in their latest outing on Thursday, as they generated a season-low 40 points in a 31-point loss to Green Bay, but at the same time saw Kendrick Perry become the school's all-time leading scorer in the Division I era as he tallied 10 points to reach 1,831 for his career. Bobby Hain tallied 11 points as the team shot a dismal 31.9 percent from the field and 3-of-16 behind the 3-point line on the night.
Scoring 20.1 ppg on the season, Perry is hitting his field goal attempts at a 50.2 percent clip and is also one of the top passers on the roster with 110 assists. With almost twice as many steals (67) as any of his teammates, Perry is also now tied for the all-time school lead in that department as well. Kamren Belin (11.7 ppg), Ryan Weber (11.4 ppg) and Hain (11.0 ppg) all do their part to try and kick the YSU offense into gear.
One would think that the Flames would accidentally come out on top in at least one conference game this season, but being on the road and playing a YSU program that needs a strong bounce-back performance is not the way to go this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 68, Illinois-Chicago 61
02/15 10:32:48 ET