Tough loss for Flames versus Valparaiso
Cheer on the men’s basketball team tonight at the UIC Pavilion as the Flames face Oakland at 7 p.m.
Senior Ahman Fells drained six threes, shot 11-of-13 from the field, and scored a career-high 28 points. UIC (5-18, 1-7 Horizon League) nearly made a comeback against No. 1 Valparaiso (20-4, 7-2 Horizon League) at home Saturday, but Valpo prevailed, 70-65.
The Flames went on a 20-6 run to pull within one point of the Crusaders (61-60) after being down 18 early in the second half.
“I cannot say enough about our fight in the second half,” head coach Howard Moore said. “We just keep putting ourselves in tough positions having to come back against good teams. Ahman is playing out of his mind right now. He is doing what a senior is supposed to do and has taken advantage of his opportunities.”
Fells is the only Flame to record back-to-back 20-point games this season. He also set career highs with 11 made field goals, six threes and three assists.
UIC’s comeback started at the 12:46 mark of the second half as the team faced a 15-point deficit (55-40). That’s when the Flames executed a 20-6 run, which included eight points from Fells and seven from junior Paris Burns. Burns finished the day with 14 points and is averaging more than 15 in his last three games.
Valpo scored seven straight to go back up by seven (67-60), but a triple from Burns and two free throws by Jason McClellan cut the Crusaders’ lead to 67-65 with 30 seconds on the clock.
Tevonn Walker put Valpo up four (69-65) after one free throw with 15 seconds left. UIC senior Jay Harris attempted a three-pointer with less than five seconds remaining, but the shot was off the mark. Harris recorded his fifth straight double-digit scoring effort with 11 points.
McClellan struggled from the floor but had a solid all-around day with six points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.
UIC’s defense forced 15 Valpo turnovers as the Flames converted those miscues into 17 points.
The Crusaders held the advantage in the paint by a margin of 38-18 and on the boards, 45-26.
Miller leaves men’s basketball team
UIC Flame D’Juan Miller has left the men’s basketball team for personal reasons.
Miller transferred to UIC from Eastern Arizona College before the 2014–15 season and competed in 20 games for the Flames. The junior guard averaged 4.7 points and 4 assists per contest at UIC.
“We appreciate D’Juan’s contributions to the UIC men’s basketball program,” head coach Howard Moore said. “We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”