Illinois-Chicago (1-0) vs. New Mexico (1-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UVI Sports & Fitness Center (3,500) -- St. Thomas, Virgin
Islands. Television: FSN. Home Record: Illinois-Chicago 1-0, New Mexico 1-0.
Away Record: Illinois-Chicago 0-0, New Mexico 0-0. Neutral Record: Illinois-
Chicago 0-0, New Mexico 0-0. Conference Record: Illinois-Chicago 0-0, New
Mexico 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: As part of the weekend-long Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, the
Illinois-Chicago Flames and New Mexico Lobos will duke it out at the UVI
Sports and Fitness Center on the campus of the University of the Virgin
The Flames are riding into this contest off a win in their season opener.
Thanks to a strong defensive effort UIC was able to take down UC Riverside
59-52 at UIC Pavilion in a non-conference matchup. It is the type of start the
Flames needed after totaling only 23 wins over the last three seasons. UIC did
not play on a neutral court last season but had just one win in 16 tries away
Also earning a win in its season opener was New Mexico which dispatched of
Davidson 86-81. The Lobos trailed by 16 points early in the second half but
overcame that with help from a 14-2 run midway through the final period. In
nine neutral court battles last season, the Lobos took home seven victories
while finishing the season 28-7 overall, the best mark in the Mountain West
Both of these teams' next opponent will be determined by a matchup between
George Mason and Mercer with the winner of each contest facing off and the
loser of each pairing up as well.
This will mark the first time these two programs have been pitted against one
another on the hardwood.
It was on defense that the Flames really made their mark in the opener. UIC
held UC Riverside to 35.2 percent shooting overall in the contest. UIC itself
struggled offensively connecting on 38.8 percent of its shots, although it did
outscore the Highlanders 24-12 from beyond the arc.
Josh Crittle led the way on both ends of the court for the Flames. The senior
center scored a team-high 15 points and brought in seven rebounds while also
protecting the rim in collecting five blocks. Sophomore guard Joey Miller
provided an offensive spark off the bench with 14 points on a 4-of-6 shooting
performance from beyond the arc. Lead returning scorer Gary Talton took plenty
of shots but finished with only six points on an off night in which he netted
only 3-of-12 field goal attempts including misses on all four shots from
beyond the arc. Although he was unable to get himself going, Talton did fuel
the offense as a distributor, handing out seven assists. Hayden Humes also
scored in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Talton, Humes and Crittle,
all starters last season, each played at least 31 minutes in the opener.
Rebounding can often swing the momentum in a game and for New Mexico that
proved true against Davidson. Led by a 27-7 edge on the boards in the second
half, the Lobos were able to erase an early deficit and roar back for the win.
New Mexico nearly outscored Davidson by 20 points (55-36) during the second
Even though the shots weren't falling at a consistent rate for him, Tony Snell
was without a doubt the most important player for New Mexico in the opener.
Despite a 7-of-22 effort from the floor, Snell finished with a game-high 25
points. Snell is one of two returning starters that averaged in double figures
last season. The other returning double-figure scorer Kendall Williams, also a
guard, put in a strong effort with 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Williams willed himself to the free throw line consistently in the game and
finished with 13 points from the charity stripe on 14 shots. Also in double
figures was Alex Kirk who finished with 14 points and seven rebounds off the
bench. The redshirt sophomore center adds a great deal of size in the interior
for the Lobos with his seven-foot frame. Guard Demetrius Walker, a solid
reserve last season (7.4 ppg) had a decent debut as a regular starter with 10
Although these teams share the same record entering this game, they are
separated by a great deal in terms of talent. New Mexico was an NCAA
Tournament team last season and has the offensive firepower to blow by the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 81, Illinois-Chicago 63
11/16 10:38:38 ET
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