With a win, the Penguins would be above .500 in league play.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Youngstown State men's basketball team returns to Horizon League play tonight at 7 at the Beeghly Center against Illinois-Chicago.
YSU and UIC are the only teams in the league to have played two conference games so far this season.
The Penguins (3-8 overall and 1-1 in the Horizon League) will look to go above .500 for the first time in four years of league play.
YSU is coming off a 78-54 nonconference loss at Duquesne on Dec. 31. In the contest against the Dukes, Quin Humphrey scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Humphrey became the first Penguin since the 1978-79 season to score in double figures in the first 11 games of the year.
Brian Radakovich was scheduled to start, but experienced back spasms during pre-game warm-ups and did not play in the game. He is questionable for tonight's game, which would keep him out of his first league game since joining the program four years ago. In his absence, freshman Colin LaForme scored a career-best 10 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
YSU opened Horizon League play with a 72-51 loss at Wright State on Dec. 18 before rebounding to beat Loyola 76-68 on Dec. 21. Since taking a break for the Christmas, YSU has dropped nonleague games to Saint Francis (Pa.) and at Duquesne.
UIC (4-7, 0-2) has lost four of its last five games -- including a home defeat to Division II UW-Parkside on Dec. 21 --- and is coming off a 67-57 loss at Detroit on Dec. 30.
Cedrick Banks leads the way averaging 15.5 points this season. Banks scored 34 points in the loss to the Titans. UIC was picked second in the Horizon League preseason poll, behind UW-Milwaukee. Last season, UIC placed second in the regular season, but earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by beating the Panthers in the league tournament championship game.
The Flames will be trying to avoid their first 0-3 conference start since the 1990-91 season, when they were members of the Mid-Continent Conference.
This is the 12th meeting between the Penguins and the Flames. YSU has never beaten UIC, but has come close the past three years at home losing the last three games by an average of four per game.