Men face Loyola Saturday after falling to Grand Canyon

UIC Flames men's basketball vs Grand Canyon at UIC Pavilion. 21 Tai Odiase

Tai Odiase scored eight points in 12 minutes against Grand Canyon. Photo: Timothy Nguyen

The UIC men’s basketball team (2-6) faces cross-town rival Loyola Saturday at the UIC Pavilion after dropping a heartbreaker Tuesday against Grand Canyon (3-4), 66-61.

The first 500 UIC students at the 1 p.m. game get a free replica Flames jersey. Students are free with i-card; tickets for faculty and staff are $10 at with the offer code STAFF14.

Fifth-year transfer Jay Harris netted a game-high 17 points Tuesday night, totaling career-highs of seven assists and seven rebounds. Junior Jake Wiegand secured his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Antelopes jumped out to an early 14-6 lead by the 12:39 mark, but a 7-0 run for UIC pulled the Flames to within one (14-13) with 8:25 left in the half. With 4:17 on the clock, UIC knotted the score at 21-21 after a Wiegand dunk and a three-pointer from junior Jason McClellan.  Grand Canyon closed out the half with five straight points for a 26-21 advantage at the break.

The Flames came out firing to start the second half with a 9-2 run, taking their first lead of the game (30-28) at the 16:49 mark. Freshman Tai Odiase scored six of those nine points all within a two-minute and 23-second stretch. Odiase finished the night with eight points in 12 minutes of action.

The game went back-and-forth for the next several minutes until the ’Lopes executed an 8-2 offensive spurt to take a 47-39 edge with 9:11 left to play. UIC pulled to within three points (52-49) at the 5:41 mark after a layup by senior Marc Brown, but Grand Canyon answered with four straight points to reclaim a three-possession lead.

The Flames kept fighting and cut GCU’s lead down to 63-61 with 20 seconds on the clock after two straight layups from Harris and junior D’Juan Miller.  The ’Lopes converted their foul shots down the stretch as UIC’s final two offensive attempts came up short.

Harris’ 17 points was his eighth double-digit effort in his last nine collegiate games, dating back to his final four games with Wagner. McClellan was efficient as he posted six points and six rebounds in a mere 12 minutes of work. Miller dished out six assists and chipped in four points.

UIC continues to be one of the nation’s best free-throwing shooting teams as they hit 18-of-20 tonight, bringing its season average to 79 percent.  The Flames won the rebounding battle by a margin of 39-32 and doubled GCU on the offensive glass, 14-7.

Saturday afternoon’s contest will be aired live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and ESPN3.



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