Men’s basketball win snaps Horizon losing streak
The men’s basketball team snapped its 17-game losing streak Tuesday night with a wire-to-wire 80-58 victory against UWM at Milwaukee.
The Flames (6-23, 1-14) return to action Saturday afternoon at home against Wright State.
It was UIC’s first Horizon League win of the season and its first victory on the road against UWM (16-13, 6-9) since 2008. The 22-point triumph marks UIC’s largest conference road win in more than 16 years.
“Tonight is mixed emotions for me,” said head coach Howard Moore. “If we would have played with this effort in our losses then our record would be totally different. It might even be flip-flopped.”
UIC was piloted by senior Kelsey Barlow, who scored a game-high 23 points, his seventh 20-plus point game of the year.
The Flames employed a lock-down defense that forced Milwaukee to shoot 31.6 percent from the floor, the lowest opponent shooting mark for UIC this season. UWM’s 58 points and 18 made field goals ties for the second-lowest opponent totals on the year.
“If we continue to play this way, then we will be that team no one wants to play in March,” Moore said. “Our focus now is that there is no let down on Saturday and that we continue to play our best basketball moving forward.”
The Flames shot out to a 21-12 lead less than eight minutes into the game and never looked back.
UIC extended its advantage out to 37-18 by the 3:54 mark on the heels of a 21-6 run. Barlow scored nine points during that stretch and finished the first half with 18 points, shooting 7-of-8 from the floor.
Milwaukee’s Matt Tiby ripped off nine straight points to pull the Panthers within 10 of UIC with just over one minute left in the period. Junior Marc Brown sank a pair of free throws to put the Flames up 39-27 at half.
UIC kept its foot on the throttle to begin the second half, scoring seven of the first 10 points to reach a 20-point lead by the 14:44 mark.
The Flames shot 52 percent in the second stanza and sank 4-of-9 from behind the arc. Freshman Pat Birt paced UIC in the final 20 minutes, hitting 4-of-4 from the field and scoring nine points.
With 4:05 left to play, the Flames amassed a 78-49 edge. The Panthers hit two threes in the final 61 seconds, but the damage was done as UIC cruised to a 22-point win.
The Flames had tremendous contributions from several players, beginning with junior Jay Parker. The Chicago native grabbed a career-high seven rebounds and added eight points, four assists and two steals to his stat line. Junior Will Simonton tied a career-high with three blocks as he posted five points and six rebounds.
Senior Jordan Harks dropped in 10 points tonight for his 11th double-digit game of the season. Senior Hayden Humes netted six of his eight points in the second half with two three balls, while corralling seven boards in total. Sophomore Jake Wiegand was active on the glass with six caroms, as the Flames out-rebounded Milwaukee by a margin of 41-31.
UIC will honor seniors Barlow, Jordan Harks and Hayden Humes before Saturday’s game, the regular season finale.
The game starts at 1 p.m. in the UIC Pavilion. Student admission is free with i-card; for more information, visit uicflames.com.