Flames end season in first round of tournament

Dikembe Dixson

Horizon League Freshman of the Year Dikembe Dixson scored 18 points. Photo: Steve Woltmann

One year after UIC knocked Wright State out of the Horizon League men’s basketball championship, the Raiders returned the favor by defeating the Flames, 74-43, in a first-round game at Joe Louis Arena Saturday.

UIC struggled through one of its worst offensive outings of the season. The Flames shot a season-low 22.6 percent from the field, while making only two attempts from three-point range. UIC did however shoot 81 percent from the free-throw line with 17 conversions, marking only the second time this season that head coach Steve McClain’s bunch eclipsed the 80-percent mark from the charity stripe.

On the flip side, Wright State shot 42.6 percent from the field and 50 percent (14-of-28) from downtown.

UIC scored the game’s first four points, but an 8-0 run by the Raiders put them ahead for good. Wright State built a 17-point lead at the break thanks to six first-half three-pointers.

Markese McGuire’s deep triple came with 4:15 to go in the opening period and trimmed the Wright State lead to six points. JT Yoho came down on the other end and hit a three-pointer that sparked an 8-0 Raiders’ run to end the half.

Dikembe Dixson converted two free throws early in the second half, but it wasn’t until his jumper with 15:02 to go that the Flames hit from the field. By the time his bucket came, Wright State had expanded its lead to more than 20 points.

Dixson, the Horizon League Freshman of the Year and All-Horizon League selection, registered his team-high seventh double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. The newcomer had 10 of his points come at the free-throw line and he helped defensively with a team-high three steals. Michael Kolawole finished with eight points.

Horizon League All-Defensive Team honoree Tai Odiase grabbed nine rebounds and added four blocked shots.

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