Men’s basketball team scores win on road

Jordan Blount

Jordan Blount contributed a career-high 17 points Saturday during the men’s basketball team’s victory at Cleveland State. (Photo: UIC Athletics)

UIC picked up another Horizon League victory on the road Saturday afternoon, toppling Cleveland State, 87-80. It was the third consecutive win away from home for the Flames (10-11, 5-3 Horizon League).

The Flames return home this week, hosting IUPUI at 3 p.m. Saturday at the UIC Pavilion. The Flames will celebrate Alumni Day Saturday, with former student-athletes invited back to the UIC Pavilion.

With five wins in the first eight conference games, UIC is off to its best start in conference play since the 2012–13 campaign. The three consecutive road wins mark the first three-game winning streak away from home since the 2008–09 season.

During Saturday’s game versus Cleveland State, Godwin Boahen came off the bench and scored a team and season-high 18 points for the Flames. Jordan Blount added a career-high 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Tai Odiase netted 12 points and became the 23rd player in program history to reach 1,000 for his career. He now has 1,006 points.

Both teams struggled shooting the ball in the early going. UIC (3-of-9) and Cleveland State (4-of-12) opened by converting at a clip of 33 percent from the field, helping the Vikings get out to a slim 8-7 lead. Following a timeout, Marcus Ottey rolled in a layup for the Flames to begin a stretch when UIC made six of its next nine shots.

Cleveland State led 23-21 before Tarkus Ferguson ignited a 13-2 UIC run to snatch a nine-point lead, the largest of the half. Boahen gave the Flames a 34-25 advantage with 3:17 left in the frame thanks to a pull-up jumper.

The Vikings went on their own 11-1 surge to take a lead in the final minute of the half. Two free throws from Tyree Appleby put the home team up by three, but they would not be able to maintain the lead for long.

CSU’s Kenny Carpenter clanked a 3-pointer and Odiase ripped down the rebound with about 10 seconds to go in the period. Odiase passed to Dominique Matthews, who found freshman Michael Diggins camped out in the corner in front of the Viking bench. Diggins splashed down a triple as time expired that put UIC ahead, 40-38, at the break.

UIC jumped on Cleveland State to start the second stanza. The Flames got the lead back to double digits in a span of 4:26 when Ferguson scored a 3-pointer that gave his team an 11-point lead. The cushion expanded to 20 for the first time on a basket inside from Jacob Wiley with 11:54 remaining in the contest.

The Flames first extended the lead to a game-high 22 points when Matthews put back his own miss with 8:16 left on the clock. Later, Boahen connected from beyond the arc for one of his two 3-pointers that put UIC in front, 75-53.

The Vikings refused to go away quietly, orchestrating a 12-0 run in less than three minutes. Dikembe Dixson got to the free throw line and made a pair to regain a double-digit lead.

CSU’s Bobby Word later made a 3-pointer that made it a five-point game with 8.8 seconds remaining. After a foul, Ferguson buried a pair of free throws to propel UIC into the win column, 87-80.