Flames earn invitation to CBI tournament

Men's Basketball teamThe men’s basketball team will continue its season Thursday after accepting an invitation to play in the College Basketball Invitational presented by FIVE FOUR. The Flames will open the postseason tournament at 7 p.m. versus Stony Brook at the UIC Pavilion.

“This team has earned an incredible opportunity to extend this season,” said head coach Steve McClain. “The players have worked very hard since we came together for the first time over the summer and they have received the opportunity to play in the postseason.

“This year we have accomplished a lot of things that had not been done in a long time at UIC, and this is another great achievement. We are looking forward to playing a very talented Stony Brook team.”

It’s UIC’s (15-18, 7-11 Horizon League) first postseason berth in two seasons under McClain and the sixth postseason opportunity in program history.

For the first time in UIC’s Division I history, the team has tripled its win total from the previous season, from five to 15. According to NCAA data, the Flames are the 10th most-improved team in the country.

UIC advanced to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament earlier this month for the second time in three seasons. The sixth-seeded Flames toppled No. 3 Green Bay in the semifinals, snapping a 10-game skid against the Phoenix.

Stony Brook (18-13, 12-4 America East) is in its first season under head coach Jeff Boals. The Seawolves advanced to the semifinals of the America East playoffs, where they fell to Albany March 6, 63-56. Stony Brook has three players averaging in double figures, led by Lucas Woodhouse with 15.1 points per game. Woodhouse has drained a team-high 66 three-pointers on the year, and he shoots 45.8 percent from beyond the arc. He is an All-America East First Team selection.

The College Basketball Invitational is a single-elimination tournament up until the best-of-three finals. The quarterfinal round will take place March 20, followed by the semifinals March 22. The Finals begin March 27.

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