SMU (7-2) at Illinois-Chicago (3-4)
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 4, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (6,958) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: CSN. Home Record: SMU 5-0, UIC 1-3. Away Record: SMU 0-1, UIC 0-0. Neutral Record: SMU 2-1, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: SMU 0-0, UIC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The SMU Mustangs will step into UIC Pavilion for a non-conference tilt with the Illinois-Chicago Flames on Wednesday evening.
SMU enters the matchup with a head of steam, having won two straight and five of its last six contests. The most recent of those victories came on Monday night against McNeese State.
UIC has been idle since taking third place in the Gulf Coast Showcase with a 94-76 win over Wagner last Wednesday in Estero, Florida. The Flames now return home to UIC Pavilion, where they have managed only one win in four tries this season.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
SMU and McNeese State both made 10 3-pointers in Monday's game, but the Mustangs needed only 14 attempts (.714) whereas the Cowboys launched 34 attempts (.294). The Mustangs corralled the vast majority of those misses, too, as they held a 42-25 rebounding advantage, including a 34-17 edge on the defensive glass. Nic Moore buried 5-of-5 treys in the first half to help SMU build a 52-17 halftime lead. He finished with a team-high 15 points, while Ben Moore tallied 12 points, six boards and five assists off the bench. On the season, Nic Moore leads the team with 13.9 points per game and is shooting at a 60-percent clip from beyond the arc (27-of-45). Yanick Moreira is averaging 11.0 points and 6.1 boards.
In their win over Wagner last week, the Flames rode the hot hand of senior Kelsey Barlow, who led all scorers with 38 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. It marked the third-highest scoring output in school history, as Barlow shot 8-of-11 from the floor, 5-of-8 from the perimeter, and 17-of-19 at the foul line. Reserves Pat Birt and Jake Wiegand joined him in double figures with 11 points apiece. Barlow leads the way with 15.4 ppg, while Marc Brown is scoring 14.4 ppg. Spotty defense has been a large contributor to the team's poor start, as UIC has allowed opponents to shoot 48 percent from the floor and 42 percent from 3-point range while putting up nearly 80 points per game (79.1).
The Flames won't be able to rely on career nights from Barlow each time out, so they'll need to tighten up defensively sooner or later if they hope to avoid a losing season. Look for SMU to keep rolling.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 81, Illinois-Chicago 68
12/04 10:32:57 ET