Men’s basketball wins seven in a row

Daniel Barnes scored 14 points against Colorado State .

Daniel Barnes scored 14 points against Colorado State Saturday. Photo: Steve Woltmann

Senior point guard Gary Talton scored a game-high 20 points to lead the men’s basketball team to a 64-55 win Saturday over Colorado State at the UIC Pavilion.

The victory extended the Flames’ winning streak to seven games, the program’s longest streak since the 1997-98 campaign.

The Flames host Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Pavilion. Students get in free with i-card.

UIC improves to 8-1 on the season while Colorado State drops to 6-2. The Flames held the Rams to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and forced 15 turnovers.

“We beat a very well-coached team,” head coach Howard Moore said. “Our guys really stayed with the game plan and were able to pull out a very good victory. We did a great job of identifying shooters, taking away driving lanes and finishing the possessions with our defensive rebounding.

“Our defense is going to keep us in games. We found ways to score off our defense, and that’s what we have to continue to do.”

The majority of Talton’s scoring output came from the free-throw line, where he was 12-for-12. Senior guard Daniel Barnes (14 points), sophomore wing Marc Brown (12) and senior center Josh Crittle (10) joined Talton in double figures.

Colorado State threw the first punch, jumping out to a 6-0 lead. The Flames fought back to claim a 9-8 lead after Crittle converted two deep jumpers. The Rams answered with six points, extending their lead to 15-9 with 12 minutes left in the first half.

Crittle picked up his second foul with about six minutes left and Colorado State leading by five, 19-14. Will Simonton stepped up to the challenge, blocking two shots on one possession to spearhead a defensive effort that saw the Flames limit Colorado State to just one field goal in the final seven minutes.

UIC went on a 7-0 run to take a 21-19 lead into halftime. The Flames limited Colorado State to 25.8 percent shooting in the opening frame and forced seven turnovers.

Colorado State opened a 31-25 lead four minutes into the second half, but Brown converted two field goals to keep the Flames within two possessions. Crittle was whistled for his third foul out of the break and Colorado State took advantage, building a 37-29 lead with about 13 minutes left.

The Flames took advantage by stringing together an 8-1 run to take a 42-40 lead before the Rams hit a three-pointer to reclaim the lead.

UIC took the lead for good with about five minutes left after Simonton converted a left-handed runner. He was fouled on UIC’s next possession and buried both free throws to push the Flames’ lead to three points, 49-46.

UIC finished the game from the free-throw line, going 11-for-12 in the final four minutes. Talton hit a three-pointer with two minutes left to give UIC a two-possession lead, 55-50.

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