Wright State (18-10) at Illinois-Chicago (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 26, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (6,958) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: HLN. Home Record: Wright state 9-4, UIC 9-3. Away Record: Wright State 8-5, UIC 4-9. Neutral Record: Wright State 1-1, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: Wright State 9-5, UIC 6-8. Series Record: Wright State leads, 23-21.
GAMES NOTES: In the second contest of a three-game homestand the Illinois- Chicago Flames will host the Wright State Raiders in a Horizon League battle at UIC Pavilion.
In BracketBusters play on Saturday the Raiders were handed a 70-58 loss on the road against Evansville. The setback was the second in the last three games for the Raiders who are suddenly stumbling with the end of the regular season looming. Wright State is still in the upper echelon of the league standings with a record of 9-5. Overall, Wright State is 18-10 with this game coming before the regular-season finale against Youngstown State.
For Illinois-Chicago, BracketBusters weekend also ended in disappointment. The Flames were dropped in a one-point decision against Bradley when the Braves' Jake Eastman sank a put-back layup with a second left in regulation. The loss was the third straight and fifth in the last six games for the Flames, who are 15-13 overall, while under .500 in league action (6-8). UIC has major test in its regular-season finale against Detroit on Saturday.
When these team met up at the end of January they were tangled in a low- scoring affair. The Flames ended up pulling out a 55-49 victory as they ended a six-game winning streak for Wright State in the series. The Raiders now lead the all-time series, 23-21.
In its loss to Evansville the Raiders shot nearly 15 percentage points less than the Purple Aces in the 70-58 setback. The Raiders were also outscored 32-18 in the paint, but they did have the edge in points off turnovers (17-7).
Wright State's recent struggles have come in large part from the loss of Cole Darling (11.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Reggie Arceneaux (9.7 ppg). The pair are the leading scorers on the team but each has missed the last two games dealing with injuries. Neither is expected to play in this bout. Miles Dixon (8.0 ppg) is the only other player on the roster scoring at least eight points per game but the 6-foot-1 guard shoots less than 40 percent from the floor and has been in double figures just twice in the last 14 games. J.T. Yoho (6.2 ppg) was the go to scorer against Evansville as he put in a season-high 20 points.
The Flames had five fewer field goals and 15 less attempts from the floor in the second half to give up a seven-point halftime lead to Bradley. Daniel Barnes scored 18 points to pace the Flames, who were outscored 20-13 in points off turnovers in the losing effort.
Poor offensive showings have been UIC's weakness this season. The Flames rank second to last in the Horizon League in scoring (61.9 pg) and field-goal percentage (.393), while assisting on just 11.9 field goals per game. UIC has managed to stay in most games by holding teams to just 62.3 points per game on just over 40 percent shooting. Gary Talton (13.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) is the leading scorer and distributor on the roster, but is shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. Barnes (11.3 ppg) also shoots below 40 percent from the field, while Josh Crittle (10.1 ppg) is the third member of the team scoring in double figures.
With the Raiders hobbled the Flames have a golden opportunity to pull off an upset and set themselves up nicely with the regular-season finale up next.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois-Chicago 68, Wright State 62
02/26 10:34:33 ET