DePaul Blue Demons (5-3) vs. UIC Flames (4-5) – Wednesday, December 14th, 7:00 p.m. Central – McGrath-Phillips Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Television – FOX Sports 1
Radio – WSCR AM 670
This week is Chicago rivalry week for the Blue Demons. With the Flames on Wednesday night and the Chicago State Cougars on Saturday, the Blue Demons will reacquaint themselves with some local rivals this week.
Despite their 4-5 record, UIC is actually a much improved team this season.
The Flames are coming off a year where they went 5-25 overall and 3-15 in the Horizon League, so four wins in the non-conference is a major improvement over last year.
UIC coach Steve McClain made the decision to live or die with his younger players in his first season as head coach. It’s a decision that is starting to pay some benefits in his second year.
The Flames own wins over Texas San-Antonio, Trinity Christian, Cal Poly, and Chicago State.
Leading the way for UIC is sophomore Dikembe Dixson. Dixson leads the team in both scoring (22.2 points per game) and on the glass (6.7 rebounds per game).
Freshman guard Marcus Ottey has made a contribution in his first year, adding 11.8 ppg. A starter earlier in the year, Ottey has come off the bench that last few games for the Flames.
Local big man Tai Odiase, from Homewood-Flossmoor, is UIC’s enforcer who leads the team in blocked shots and averages 10.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg.
The Flames are coming off a close 73-69 loss on the road at Grand Canyon University. Dixson scored 19 pts, but shot just five of 17 from the field.
Tarkus Ferguson was a perfect seven for seven from the field and added 16 points in the losing effort.
UIC favors a faster tempo, their wins have been more higher scoring than their losses.
"They are a very challenging opponent on both ends of the court," DePaul coach Dave Leitao told WSCR Radio. "For us defensively it comes down to a couple of very key and specific things. Their transition offense is high octane. They've got a number of guys that will come right at you and get to the front of the rim and test your defense. They are an attacking team."
In the games ahead, DePaul will have to avoid listless spells like they had in Saturday's loss to Temple. They will also need to shoot better than they did against the Owls.
The Last Time
On December 2, 2015 at the UIC Pavilion, the Blue Demons handed the Flames a 82-55 beatdown.
DePaul never trailed in the contest. The Blue Demons got it done with unselfish play and good old fashioned defense.
The Blue Demons held UIC to 36.4 percent shooting and 20 percent from beyond the arc. DePaul stole the ball 10 times and scored 23 points off of turnovers.
Four Blue Demons finished in double-figures.
Myke Henry led the way for DePaul with a near double-double of 17 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Billy Garrett, Jr. dished out six assists to along with 13 points.
Senior forward Rashaun Stimage added 12 points while Tommy Hamilton IV came in off the bench with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
DePaul cruised from the opening tip-off and took a 41-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Blue Demons also outscored the Flames 38-16 in the paint.
Former St. Rita guard Dominique Matthews led UIC with a career-high of 17 points and five rebounds in the losing effort.
# NAME HT. WT. POS. YEAR HOMETOWN HIGH SCHOOL LAST COLLEGE
0 Dominique Matthews 6-2 190 Guard R-Fr. Chicago, Ill. St. Rita
1 Michael Kolawole 6-5 195 Guard So. Rowlett, Texas Rowlett
2 K.J. Santos 6-8 200 Forward Fr. Geneva, Ill. Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.)
3 Hassan Thomas 6-7 210 Forward So. Dallas, Texas Woodrow Wilson
4 Lance Whitaker 6-4 210 Guard/Forward R-Jr. Bartlett, Ill. Bartlett
5 Tarkus Ferguson 6-4 180 Guard Fr. Belleville, Ill. Althoff Catholic
10 Dikembe Dixson 6-7 200 Forward So. Matewan, W. Va, Mingo Central
13 Jordan Blount 6-8 200 Forward Fr. Cork, Ireland SPIRE Academy (Ohio)
15 Godwin Boahen 5-11 175 Guard Fr. Toronto, Ontario, Canada The Hill Academy
21 Tai Odiase 6-9 220 Forward/Center Jr. Glenwood, Ill. Homewood-Flossmoor
22 Kyle Guice 6-8 225 Forward/Center Jr. Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Lake City North Idaho
23 Marcus Ottey 6-2 175 Guard Fr. Ajax, Ontario, Canada SPIRE Acadmey (Ohio)
25 Josh Joiner 6-1 170 Guard Sr. Chicago, Ill. Willowbrook Kennedy-King
32 Clint Robinson 6-8 235 Forward/Center Jr. Montego Bay, Jamaica Charles Herbert Flowers (Md.) State Fair