Colorado State (6-1) at Illinois-Chicago (7-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UIC Pavilion (8,000) -- Chicago, Illinois. Television: CSN-CHI. Home Record: CSU 4-0, UIC 3-0. Away Record: CSU 2-1, UIC 2-0. Neutral Record: CSU 0-0, UIC 2-1. Conference Record: CSU 0-0, UIC 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Having suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday, the Colorado State Rams can now put the notion of remaining perfect behind them as they challenge the Flames of Illinois-Chicago at UIC Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
CSU opened the 2012-13 campaign with six straight victories, half of which were by double figures, but the team ran into a pesky Colorado squad on Wednesday at the Coors Events Center in Boulder and was dealt a 70-61 setback as it fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.
As for the Flames, they too have fallen in just one of their previous outings heading into the weekend. However, since losing to nationally-ranked New Mexico in the second game of the season by just seven points, UIC has ripped off six consecutive victories, the most recent of those coming three nights ago in a meeting with Roosevelt, 81-43.
At 7-1, the Flames are off to their best start since 1997-98 when they won 10 of their first 11 outings, on their way to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
Pierce Hornung returned to action for the Rams against Colorado on Wednesday, but while he managed to pull down seven rebounds, he accounted for just two points before fouling out. Colton Iverson led the way for the program with 19 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Dorian Green with 18 points, but they alone could not make up for Hornung's lackluster effort or that of Wes Eikmeier, who converted just 3-of-15 shots from the floor as he finished with seven points. Iverson is quickly becoming the go-to guy for the Rams as he leads the group in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg), while shooting 61.1 percent from the field. Green (13.4 ppg) helps to keep the rest of the players involved with his 23 assists over seven games and hopefully some of those passes will find their way to Hornung (6.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg) who could stand a boost at the offensive end of the floor.
UIC's defense stymied Roosevelt, particularly in the first half as the visitors made a total of just five field goals and missed all 10 chances behind the three-point line, en route to the lopsided final. Hayden Humes led the Flames offense with a game-high 21 points, connecting on 5-of-6 shots beyond the arc while also clearing seven rebounds and blocking three shots. Fellow starters Gary Talton and Daniel Barnes accounted for 11 points apiece, the former handing out eight assists, while Ahman Fells tacked on 10 points in just 14 minutes off the bench. Because of the defensive effort against the last opponent, the Flames are now giving up just 51.6 ppg on average, allowing foes to shoot a mere 35.5 percent from the field and a dismal 24.3 percent behind the three-point line. On offense, Humes is the top man with 14.0 ppg, converting a sizzling 52.8 percent beyond the arc while also finding the time and opportunity to clear almost six rebounds per game.
The Rams will have a tough time matching up with Humes for sure, but if Hornung can be a force on offense and Eikmeier can bounce back from his lackluster effort against Colorado, the visitors in this case have a shot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 64, Illinois-Chicago 60
12/08 10:30:24 ET