Streak ends for hot Flames
Sophomore guard Joey Miller came off the bench to score a season-high 15 points, but the UIC men’s basketball team saw its eight-game winning streak end, 70-54, against Western Illinois Tuesday night.
The Leathernecks out-scored the Flames 45-27 in the second half to win their fifth-straight game.
With the loss, UIC moved to 9-2, including 2-1 record in road games. WIU, idle from competition for the previous 10 days, improved to 8-3 overall.
UIC’s eight-game winning streak was its longest since the 1997-98 season.
Miller’s 15 points represented his best all-around game at UIC – he also scored 14 points in the season opener against UC Riverside. Senior center Josh Crittle chipped in 14 points, including an 8-for-10 effort from the free throw line, to join Miller in double figures. Western Illinois was led by Terell Parks, who tallied a double-double with a game-high 19 points (8-11) and 11 rebounds.
“Western did a good job of getting into us tonight, and we struggled to get ourselves going, particularly in the second half,” said head coachHoward Moore.
“They (WIU) definitely looked like the fresher and sharper team. After we built the double-digit lead late in the first half, we didn’t do a good job of executing. We got away from what we do a little bit, and Western took advantage of that.”
UIC jumped out to an early 10-1 lead, thanks to six quick points from Crittle and three turnovers by the Leathernecks. Miller hit a three from the left corner, his second field goal of the game, to give UIC its first double-digit advantage (15-5) with 10:28 remaining. Western Illinois scored the next five points of the game, but UIC countered with another convincing 9-3 run to build a 24-13 lead at the 5:02 mark.
Sophomore center Will Simonton converted the Flames’ last field goal of the frame with 3:14 remaining as the Leathernecks finished the first half on a 12-3 spurt. After Miller missed a three with time winding down, the long rebound was corralled by Don McAvoy. He had a clear path to the basket, but was aggressively fouled by Daniel Barnes with less than one second showing on the clock. McAvoy converted both free throws to trim UIC’s lead to just two (27-25) heading into the locker room at halftime.
Western Illinois claimed a 31-30 lead with 18:07 remaining in the second half and never trailed again. Between the 17:06 and 13:33 marks, the Leathernecks went on a 7-2 run to take a six-point (40-34) lead. Moore called a timeout, but WIU kept the pressure on, building a 47-34 lead with 10:41 left.
After falling behind by as many 15 points, UIC pulled within a 10-point margin five times between the 6:55 and 3:48 marks and was within nine (55-46) with 5:10 remaining after two converted free throws by Crittle. But WIU settled for trading buckets, eventually building its lead back to 14 points (62-48) with 2:37 remaining.
UIC continues its three-game road trip Saturday when the Flames travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on Miami (Ohio).
Tip-off from Millett Hall is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CST. The RedHawks, 3-5 on the season, will travel to the Nutter Center to take on Horizon League foe Wright State Wednesday night.
Against Eastern Michigan
Senior guard Daniel Barnes poured in a career-high 30 points Saturday as the men’s basketball team beat Eastern Michigan, 74-48, at the UIC Pavilion. The victory extended UIC’s winning streak to eight games.
Senior point guard Gary Talton scored 12 points to join Barnes in double figures.
The Flames stifled Eastern Michigan to 33.9 percent shooting — the seventh time this season that UIC has held its opponent to less than 35 percent shooting. Barnes became the first UIC player to score 30 or more points in a single game since Jeremy Buttell, now the Flames’ video coordinator, in 2010.
“Our guys did a great job of responding in the second half,” head coach Howard Moore said. “Danny Barnes had one of the best performances we’ve seen on the Pavilion floor in some time.
“Our guys continue to be very locked in defensively. When we give them a scouting report and an opponent’s tendencies, they really grasp things and ask great questions. You know you’ve got a team that is locked in defensively when they are looking for multiple ways to exploit an opponent’s weaknesses.”
UIC claimed an early 10-6 advantage but the score remained tight for most of the first half. Talton converted two free throws with two minutes left, giving the Flames their largest lead of the frame, 24-15. Eastern Michigan scored the final four points of the half, pulling within 24-19 at intermission.
The Flames extended their lead to double digits (30-19) less than two minutes into the second half after Barnes and junior forward Hayden Humes drilled back-to-back threes. Eastern Michigan pulled within nine (33-24) with 16 minutes left, but the Flames answered with a quick 5-0 run to force the Eagles into their first time-out of the half.
Sophomore guard Joey Miller came off the bench to hit a three-pointer with 10 minutes remaining, giving UIC its first 20-point lead (46-26) of the game. UIC stayed ahead by at least 17 points for the rest of the game.