Illinois-Chicago (2-1) vs. Iona (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 19, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center (14,538) -- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Television: None. Home Record: UIC 1-0, Iona 1-0. Away Record: UIC 0-0, Iona 0-0. Neutral Record: UIC 1-1, Iona 0-2. Conference Record: UIC 0-0, Iona 0-0. Series Record: Iona leads 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois-Chicago Flames and the Iona Gaels will duke it out for fifth place in the Paradise Jam at the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.
The Flames advanced to this round of the tournament with a 62-36 win over Mercer after dropping a 66-59 decision to New Mexico in the opening round. Thus far the Flames are 2-1 overall with a 59-52 win in the season opener against UC Riverside also on the ledger. UIC will return home in its next matchup to host Southeast Missouri.
Scorching shooting from beyond the arc keyed Iona to its win over Wake Forest that earned the Gaels a berth in this round. With a 14-of-28 effort from 3-point range the Gaels rolled to a 94-68 rout of the Demon Deacons. Iona has an identical 2-1 record as the Flames with a loss to Quinnipiac (98-92) and a 65-58 win over Denver in the season opener. Iona opens up its conference schedule against Niagara in its next matchup.
These teams have only met once before. In that contest, Iona came away with an 86-65 win during the 1983 season.
In the win over Mercer, the Flames held the Bears to just 14 total field goals and turned in a 46.8 percent shooting effort itself to roll to the win. UIC also outscored the Bears by a 24-6 margin from beyond the arc while forcing a game-high 17 turnovers. Hayden Humes and Gary Talton were the lead scorers in the contest with each recording 14 points.
While running the point Talton has contributed in a myriad of ways. He has distributed well and been careful with the ball in totaling 14 assists and only three turnovers. Talton has also scored well (12.7 ppg) with double digits in all three games all, all while leading the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg). Humes has been the team's other double digit scorer (13.3 ppg), knocking down 8-of-14 shots from beyond the arc. Along with Talton and Humes, Daniel Barnes (9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is also playing more than 30 minutes per game. Joey Miller (7.0 ppg) is the top reserve and provides solid shooting from the perimeter (5-of-9 on 3-point attempts).
Sean Armand was the standout of Iona's impressive win over Wake Forest as he dropped in 7-of-10 shots from beyond the arc and finished with 28 points along with six assists and five rebounds. The Gaels shot 52.2 percent from the floor overall in the contest and forced 19 Demon Deacon turnovers.
Armand has paired with Lamont Jones to form a solid one-two punch. Jones (27.0 ppg, 13 assists) finished with 21 points against Wake Forest and has been piling up the points all season. Jones rarely sees time on the bench as he has played 37.7 minutes per contest. Armand (21.7 ppg, 10 assists) is also scoring at a high level and has knocked down 13-of-21 shot attempts from beyond the arc this season. Tre Bowman (13.7 ppg) is yet another high-scoring guard for the Gaels. With the majority of the offense coming from the backcourt, frontcourt efforts from players like Taaj Ridley (5.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Tavon Sledge (5.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) have been more subdued.
With Armand and Jones running the show, Iona will be tough to slow down in this matchup. Talton is a solid guard but won't be able to take on the Gaels' powerful backcourt by himself.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iona 88, Illinois-Chicago 68
11/19 10:42:45 ET