Talton leads Flames to victory over Loyola


Senior point guard Gary Talton sank a running shot with just 1.7 seconds left Wednesday, lifting the men’s basketball team to a thrilling 61-59 win over Loyola in a Horizon League battle at the UIC Pavilion.

The victory pushed UIC’s record to 7-1 at home this season.

Talton scored a team-high 14 points and dished out four assists. Senior center Josh Crittle chipped in 12 points and a game-high seven rebounds.

In his second career start, senior Anthony Kelley scored six points, pulled down three rebounds, dished out two assists and swatted one block.

UIC (11-7, 2-3 Horizon League) committed three turnovers in the game, a season-low mark. The Flames scored 11 points off Loyola’s nine turnovers and stifled the Ramblers to a 34.8 percent effort from the field in the second half.

“I think we missed our first 10 shots of the second half, and Loyola was surging,” head coach Howard Moore said. “We knew they were going to make some runs. That run certainly got us back on our heels. But we settled down, got the ball inside to the big fella (Crittle) and got some key stops when we needed them.

“Gary (Talton) has grown so much within this program. He has solidified himself as our true leader. There’s no doubt we wanted the ball in his hands on that last play.”

UIC shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half. The Flames’ lead reached 14 points with less than seven minutes remaining after Crittle and junior forward Hayden Humes combined for five points.

Loyola ended the first stanza on a 14-5 run but sophomore wing Marc Brown drilled a three-pointer from the right corner, pushing the Flames’ advantage back to seven, 35-28, with less than two minutes left.

Loyola scored the final basket of the half, but the Flames went into the break ahead, 35-30.

Loyola began the second half on a 10-0 run to take the lead, but UIC regained its lead on Crittle’s fifth field goal. Down the stretch, there were a combined 14 ties and lead changes.

Loyola claimed a three-point (57-54) lead with less than three minutes left.

Talton answered with a three, knotting the score at 57 with about two minutes remaining. Loyola scored, but Crittle tied the game again with a converted layup. The Flames forced a defensive stop after Loyola missed a three-pointer with just 36 seconds left.

Talton corralled the defensive rebound, drove through the left lane and finished off glass with just 1.7 seconds left for the win.

UIC heads to Detroit Saturday for a 5:30 p.m. game.

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