Oakland (10-18) at Illinois-Chicago (5-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, February 21, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (8,000) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Oakland 9-5, UIC 2-10. Away Record: Oakland 1-11, UIC 1-10. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-2, UIC 2-2. Conference Record: Oakland 5-8, UIC 0-13. Series Record: Oakland leads, 5-0.
GAME NOTES: Still winless in Horizon League play, the Flames of Illinois- Chicago give it another shot tonight as they clash with the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at UIC Pavilion.
Not only have the Flames come up empty in all 13 of their league bouts this season, the team is also slipping away on a 16-game losing streak at the moment overall. With a total of just five wins in 2013-14, two of those coming against opponents outside of Division I, UIC hasn't had much to celebrate in the last two months. On Tuesday night, the program was handed a 65-59 loss by Detroit at home.
Meanwhile, the Golden Grizzlies have been far more successful, although they too are playing well below .500 on the campaign and are three games under in conference action. On Sunday, Oakland was involved in a second straight one- point affair, but this time the team came up short against Wright State at home, 72-71.
Oakland has won all five previous meetings in the series with UIC, including a narrow 76-75 final at home in the first matchup of the season last month.
In the 900th game for head coach Greg Kampe, the Golden Grizzlies came up short of posting a win in that monumental outing, as they fell to Wright State at the O'rena. Duke Monday filled out his stat line with 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals, offsetting his five turnovers, while Ralph Hill and Kahlil Felder pitched in with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Travis Bader, the all-time leader in 3-pointers made who was held to just 1- of-10 shooting from the floor versus WSU, leads the program in scoring in league outings with 17.2 ppg. However, his accuracy from the field has fallen to a disappointing 34.5 percent, even though he has connected on 39.1 percent out on the perimeter. Felder (13.4 ppg) is one of the teammates who feeds Bader the ball, having issued a team-best 93 assists, but still the defense has been lackluster for the Grizzlies by allowing 51.0 percent from the floor and 78.7 ppg.
Kelsey Barlow dropped in 17 points and handed out six of his team's 10 assists against Detroit, but it wasn't enough as the Flames burned out at home earlier this week. Jordan Harks tallied 13 points and seven rebounds, followed by Marc Brown with 11 points off the bench, accounting for all of the scoring by the reserves, as UIC collectively shot just 36.2 percent from the field and ended up with almost as many turnovers (15) as field goals (17).
After 27 games, of which he has started all but three, Barlow takes the lead in the scoring department for the Flames with his 14.8 ppg, even though he is shooting only 39.0 percent from the floor. In addition to putting points on the board, Barlow is also the one getting his teammates involved in the action with 107 assists, more than twice as many as anyone else on the roster. Marc Brown checks in with 11.7 ppg and has combined with Barlow to knock down 184 free throws, close to half the unit's total.
Assuming that Bader won't have another awful game tonight, expect to see the Golden Grizzlies take advantage of a weak UIC squad, even in Chicago, and come away with a much-needed win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 76, Illinois-Chicago 66
02/21 10:31:19 ET