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DePaul vs. UIC Game Preview

The DePaul Blue Demons take a short trip to the west side of Chicago to face the UIC Flames in a crosstown rivalry game on Wednesday night.  We preview the game in this report.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. UIC Flames – Wednesday, December 2nd, 7:00 p.m. Central – UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois  

Television – Comcast SportsNet Chicago Plus  

Radio – WYLL AM 1160

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Game Tracker    

BlueTube Audio  

UIC Basketball

UIC Fans Site 

Game Preview

DePaul (2-3) has had over a week off to prepare for this game after returning from the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Meanwhile UIC is 1-3 overall and 0-3 against Division I competition after falling 83-62 on the road at Drake on Saturday afternoon.

New coach Steve McClain is working towards turning around this UIC program.  UIC’s marketing slogan is “A New Fire Burns”.  The Flames are still a work in progress under McClain.  McClain comes to UIC from Indiana, where he was an assistant coach under Tom Crean.  Prior to that he was the head coach at Wyoming from 1998 to 2007, where he went to the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and upset six seed Gonzaga.

Being a local rivalry though, it’s one of those games where you have to look past the records.

 “Anytime you play a local rivalry game like UIC, we have to be very mindful of the energy factor, because they will be at home and playing with a chip on their shoulder,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao told WSCR Radio.  “They’ve got a brand new coach, I know that Coach McClain has done a fabulous job over the course of his career and continue on now at UIC.  He gets his guys to play extremely hard, possession by possession basketball.  We’ve really got to be ready for them mentally than anything else in terms of bringing and sustaining our energy level so that we give ourselves a chance to be successful. Once we do that it’s probably going to be more about how we control tempo for what we want to do play in and play out, so that we can understand our philosophy and make sure that we are sound and we don’t give them baskets that they don’t earn.  At the same point in time, we impose our will on the offensive end.”

Through four games, the Flames are being led in scoring by former Homewood-Flossmoor star Tai Odiase. The 6-9 big man is averaging 12.8 points per game.  Freshman Dikembe Dixson averages 10.5 ppg and 6.8 rebounds per game. 

In Saturday’s game at Drake, sophomore swingman Lance Whitaker scored 10 points on four of four shooting including two for two from beyond the arc all in the first half, but then inexplicably didn’t take a single shot in the game’s second half. 

UIC has some young players and is going with a youth movement under McClain, but it’s the Flames upperclassmen that have given DePaul the most trouble in the past.  In last year’s meeting with the Blue Demons in Lincoln Park, senior guard Paris Burns and senior forward Jake Weigand contributed 15 points each.

The Last Time

On November 14, 2014 at McGrath-Phillips Arena on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus, the Blue Demons defated the Flames 72-71 in the season opener for both teams.

DePaul sophomore guard Billy Garrett, Jr. knocked down the game winning three pointer with 6.5 seconds left in the game. Garrett hit the shot with ice water in his veins.

The Blue Demons came out firing on all cylinders in the first half and led by 16 points at the intermission.

Then DePaul sputtered in the second half against the UIC zone.

DePaul managed to hold UIC  to 36.8 percent shooting from the floor in the winning effort.

Tommy Hamilton led all scorers with 17 points and eight rebounds.

The Blue Demons had four players in double-figures. Garrett scored 12 points and dished out six assists. Myke Henry scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in his debut as a Blue Demon. Forrest Robinson contributed 11 points off the bench including nine points from beyond the arc.

Marc Brown led UIC with 19 points. Paris Burns added 15 and Jake Weigand finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Flames.

UIC Roster

No.         Name    Ht.          Wt.         Pos.       Class      Hometown         High School         Last College

0              Dominique Matthews    6-2          190         Guard   FR           Chicago, Ill.         St. Rita 

1              Paris Burns          5-11       165         Guard   SR           Chicago, Ill.         Proviso East        Vincennes

2              Gabe Snider       6-3          180         Guard   SR           Chicago, Ill.         Whitney Young

3              Hassan Thomas 6-7          210         Forward               FR           Dallas, Texas      Woodrow Wilson            

4              Lance Whitaker 6-4          210         Guard/Forward                RS SO    Bartlett, Ill.          Bartlett

5              Michael Kolawole            6-5          195         Guard   FR           Rowlett, Texas  Rowlett               

10           Dikembe Dixson               6-7          200         Forward               FR           Freeport, Ill.       Mingo Central  

11           Josh Joiner          6-1          170         Guard   JR            Chicago, Ill.         Willowbrook      Kennedy-King College

15           Julian Torres       6-9          265         Forward/Center               FR           Bolingbrook, Ill. Bolingbrook       

21           Tai Odiase           6-9          220         Forward/Center               SO          Glenwood, Ill.    Homewood-Flossmoor

22           Drew Hackett    6-2          180         Guard   FR           Munster, Ind.    Munster             

23           Najeal Young     6-6          225         Guard/Forward                JR            Milwaukee, Wis.              West Allis Central                Lincoln College

32           Hans-Christian Lauer      6-7          220         Forward               JR            Klein-Winternheim, Germany    Cannon School (N.C.)   

34           Markese McGuire           6-3          190         Guard   JR            Elkhart, Ind.        Memorial           

40           Jake Wiegand    6-8          245         Forward               SR           Herndon, Va.     Chantily/Fishburne Military Academy     


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