High-scoring ways earn Horizon honors for Harris
UIC basketball standout and fifth-year transfer Jay Harris was named the Horizon League Player of the Week after guiding the Flames to victory last week with a career-high 32 points in a 71-60 home win against Central Florida.
UIC returns to action tonight at SMU (6-3) with tipoff schedule for 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
Harris’ 32-point outburst is the highest single-game effort in the Horizon League this season, shattering his previous career-best of 23 points. The last UIC player to score 32 or more points at home was two-time All-League guard Josh Mayo who netted 32 against Green Bay in 2007.
Harris leads the team in scoring with an average of 16.9 points per game and paces UIC with 2.1 threes per contest.
Monday night at the UIC Pavilion, the Flames (3-8) faced a 17-point deficit in the second half and used a 20-4 run to force overtime against UT-Martin (6-2), but the Skyhawks outscored the Flames, 16-13, in the extra frame to claim the 81-78 win.
UIC was led by junior Paris Burns with 24 points, while senior Marc Brown dropped in a season-high 23.
The Flames clawed their way back into the game after being down 55-38 with 9:38 left to play. An 11-0 run by UIC pulled them to within four (57-53) of the Skyhawks and a three-pointer by redshirt freshman Lance Whitaker at the 3:20 mark cut UTM’s lead down to one, 59-58.
A pair of free throws by Harris with 29 seconds on the clock knotted the score at 65-65. UT-Martin’s Marshun Newell had his game-winning shot attempt blocked at the other end of the court by freshman Tai Odiase and Burns picked up the loose ball for the Flames with four seconds remaining. Burns dribbled into UIC territory and launched a 35-footer that bounced on the rim three times before falling to the floor.
The Skyhawks jumped out early in overtime and held a 70-65 edge less than one minute into the period. UTM went ahead by eight points (75-67) with 1:26 left to play and held a two-possession lead until Harris drained a three-ball at the buzzer to produce an 81-78 final.
Harris finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds and two assists. He has now scored in double figures in 11 of his past 12 collegiate games and leads the team in scoring (17.0).
Brown’s 23 points gave him six 20-point efforts in his career and the first this season. The Dallas native totaled season-highs of six rebounds and three steals. Brown also went 6-of-6 from the foul line and improved his league-leading free throw percentage to 93.5 percent (29-of-31).
Burns collected his fourth double-digit game of the season and his second 20-point performance in three games. The Chicago native also recorded career-bests of 10 field goals and five assists.
Odiase had a solid performance with five points, four rebounds and four blocked shots. He now owns a team-high 21 swats on the season, a total that ranks second in the Horizon League.