Detroit (12-15) at Illinois-Chicago (5-21)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 18, 8 p.m. (ET)
ACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (9,500) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Detroit 8-5, UIC 2-9. Away Record: Detroit 4-10, UIC 1-10. Neutral Record: Detroit 0-0, UIC 2-2. Conference Record: Detroit 5-7, UIC 0-12. Series Record: Detroit leads, 28-13.
GAME NOTES: With time running our for Illinois-Chicago to earn a win in conference play, the Flames entertain the Detroit Titans for a Horizon League bout on Tuesday night.
UIC has lost all 12 of its previous Horizon League bouts, including a narrow 59-56 setback against Youngstown State on Saturday. The Flames have just five wins in 26 contests. There are only three games left on the schedule after this bout, two of which are at home, including Friday's matchup with Oakland.
Detroit has had more success this season, but has still struggled. The Titans are tied with Youngstown State for sixth place in the Horizon League standings (5-7), while owning an overall record of 12-15. They had won back-to-back decisions before a heartbreaking 83-82 loss in overtime to Oakland over the weekend. A visit to Wright State is next on the docket.
These teams met at Calihan Hall on Jan. 29, and the hometown Titans claimed a 74-68 victory. They have won three straight and six of the last seven with the Flames, improving their lead in the all-time series to 28-13.
There were eight ties and 14 lead changes in a back-and-forth clash on Saturday between Detroit and Oakland. Juwan Howard Jr. scored a game-high 33 points in the loss, which was sealed on a last-second jumper from The Golden Grizzlies' Duke Mondy with 11 seconds left in overtime.
Howard Jr. (18.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has been the lone bright spot for the Titans this season. He is ranked fourth in the conference in scoring, and is one of two players on the roster playing more than 30 minutes per game. He has scored at least 20 points in four of the last five outing, and in seven of 12 league tests. Evan Bruinsma (12.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg) leads the team in rebounding, and is the only other player averaging in double figures. All told, Detroit is netting 72.1 ppg, while shooting the worst percentage from the floor in the Horizon League (.418). However, the Titans are second in the league in terms of crashing the boards (37.5 rpg).
UIC was also tangled in a tight contest the last time out, and like Detroit, the Flames fell short in what turned out to be a 59-56 final versus Youngstown State. Kelsey Barlow scored a team-high 17 points to go with six assists in the loss. The difference in the game was at the free-throw line, where the Flames were outscored by a whopping 20-3 margin.
The Flames' inability to collect victories has coincided with their weakness at the offensive end of the court. UIC is last in the Horizon League in scoring (66.8 ppg) and assists (11.2 apg), while shooting the second-worst percentage from the floor (.426). Barlow (14.7 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.7 apg) is a jack of all trades for the club, leading the way in scoring and assists, while ranking third in rebounds. However, he only shoots 39 percent from the floor. Marc Brown (11.7 ppg), the only other double-digit scorer on the roster, is a bit more efficient, netting 41.6 percent of his field goal attempts.
This is one of very few real chances UIC has at earning a conference victory. However, the Flames don't have an answer for Howard Jr, which could be their downfall.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Detroit 75, Illinois-Chicago 70
02/18 10:33:47 ET