There were plenty of ugly patches, but UIC ultimately handled the University of Chicago with relative ease, 79-57, in a preseason exhibition on November 2. The Flames took the lead with 8:13 left in the first half, extended it to 11 points by halftime, and never looked back.
“I gave the group a B overall,” said UIC head coach Howard Moore. “I thought we could have rebounded a little bit better at certain times. We didn’t come up with loose balls when we should have. Our defensive rotations and defensive ball pressure were low, so we’ve got to make sure those things get corrected.”
Sophomore Jake Wiegand and junior Marc Brown starred for the Flames. Wiegand, who played only 6.6 minutes per game last season, saw 22 minutes and posted 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds. This offseason, he worked hard to earn a starting spot in the frontcourt.
“I thought that with [Josh Crittle] leaving, we really needed a strong presence (in the frontcourt), and I feel I could really fit that role perfectly,” Wiegand said. “I saw the opportunity and really just took it.”
Brown, one of two returning starters on the team, recorded 14 points and shot 7-of-8 from the foul line. Known more for his defense, Brown only averaged 5.7 points per game last season. This year, he is going to take on a larger role in UIC’s offensive game plan.
“I’m just attacking more,” he said. “But defense is always a role I take pride in. I’m going to keep playing defense and just attack more.”
Moore praised the efforts of Wiegand and Brown after the game. “These two guys, they really embody what UIC basketball is about because they’re physical, they’re tough, they do everything I ask them to do and they do more.”
Freshman Markese McGuire also turned in an impressive performance with 13 points in only 12 minutes while shooting 4-of-6 from the floor and He looked like he will be a valuable piece on offense for the Flames this season, but first Moore is looking for him to become a more complete player.
“His role is obviously to score, and he can score, but I need him to be a better defender,” Moore said. “I know he’s a smart basketball player. I just need him to understand what he needs to do for me and this particular team.”
Moore also praised junior Jay Parker’s development into the Flames’ starting point guard.
“Jay has really worked hard this offseason to improve himself, improve his conditioning, and get healthy,” he said. “He really tried to lead the team (against Chicago). He did a good job putting us in position offensively and starting out defense and putting some heat on the ball. I’m really pleased with his development, but I’m going to stay on him because I think I can get a lot more out of him.”
With this exhibition match in the books, UIC now turns the page ahead to the regular season. The Flames will open the season at home against the Drake Bulldogs on Saturday, November 9.
“The tune-ups are over,” Moore said. “Now it’s time for Drake.”
Other notes from Saturday’s game:
—Coach Howard Moore talking further on Jay Parker’s development: “I thought he really benefitted from playing behind Gary Talton, and seeing how our relationship was on the court during the course of a game. I think he’s understand what that’s all about.” Talton, who graduated last spring, started at point guard for the Flames last season and averaged 12.3 points and 4.4 assists.
—Moore on freshmen receiving playing time: “The big thing with freshmen is they’ve got to be good listeners and quick learners.”
—Marc Brown on being one of the team’s veterans: “I’m a junior, I’ve been here. I understand how the game is, the pace of the game, the tempo we need to play with. And not to force things, to just let it come to me.”
—In other Chicago news, Loyola lost 82-70 in its exhibition game against Lewis University, which only lost by five points to DePaul earlier in the week and plays Northwestern on November 6.