Flames ready for Fighting Illini at United Center

Dikembe Dixson

Dikembe Dixson scored a career-high 22 points Saturday. Photo: Steve Woltmann

The Flames face an in-state showdown Saturday when they host the Fighting Illini at the United Center. Limited tickets are available; call 312-413-8421.

Freshman Dikembe Dixson scored a career-high 22 points Saturday, but it was not enough as the Flames dropped a nonconference game at Central Florida, 88-58.

Dixson erupted in the second half after being held to only two points on 1-of-4 shooting from the floor in 14 minutes of first-half action. In the second stanza, the Freeport native scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds against the Knights. It marked the second time that a UIC player has eclipsed 20 points in a single game this season. Sophomore Tai Odiase netted a career-high 23 points Nov. 24 versus Roosevelt.

The home team got off to a quick start, scoring 13 of the game’s first 14 points in the opening six minutes of action. Trailing by 12, UIC battled hard and orchestrated a 9-4 run that chopped the deficit to seven points with 10:40 to go in the opening half. Najeal Young provided a spark off the bench with six of the nine points during that surge.

UCF countered with a 12-2 run over the next six minutes to go ahead 17 points.

UIC shot 29 percent in the first 20 minutes, while the Knights were able to find the bottom of the net with more regularity. UCF shot 44.4 percent in the first half and turned the ball over three times. The Flames were hampered by nine miscues, which UCF converted into 12 points. The bench came up big for the Knights in the first half, scoring 22 points to help establish a 43-21 lead at the break.

Young was the leading scorer for the visitors in the first half, matching a career high with eight points in 11 minutes of action off the bench. The junior led the way on the glass with five of the team’s 19 rebounds.

Odiase was in double figures in the scoring column with 10 points Saturday. He also added seven rebounds, all of which came on the offensive glass. UIC registered a season-high 27 offensive rebounds as a team.


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