UIC men’s basketball opens big with preseason win
UIC men’s basketball got off to a winning start with a 73-60 preseason win Saturday over Lake Forest College.
The Flames open their regular season Friday against the University of San Francisco at the UIC Pavilion, the first time the two teams have met.
Of the 12 Flames who saw action Saturday at the UIC Pavilion, 11 dented the scoring column — three in double figures.
Freshman Dominique Matthews earned the start for Coach Steve McClain and he rewarded the coach’s confidence with a game-high 17 points. Sophomore Tai Odiase scored 16 points and newcomer Dikembe Dixson added 12.
The Flames were slow to find the bottom of the net as they adjusted to a new offensive system. UIC shot only 32.5 percent in the first 20 minutes, but nabbed nine turnovers and held Lake Forest to 22.9 percent from the floor to end the half with a 37-27 lead. The defense was anchored inside by Odiase, who rejected five shots in the first stanza.
The Flames continued to pick it up on both ends of the floor in the second half. With just over 11 minutes left, Odiase grabbed an offensive rebound and put it in to give the team a 55-35 lead.
Lake Forest made a 22-9 run over seven minutes to cut the deficit to eight points, with 3:51 to go, but the UIC defense prevented the Foresters from additional scoring.
Odiase finished with a game-high 11 rebounds and seven blocks to go with his 16 points. Dixson, Matthews and Najeal Young each grabbed six caroms for the Flames.
McClain’s squad dominated both in the paint and on the fast break against Lake Forest. UIC outscored the Foresters inside, 44-20, and on the break, 12-3.
Friday’s contest starts at 7 p.m., with a pregame tailgate 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot by the UIC Pavilion. UIC students are free to all games with i-card. For information and tickets, call 312-413-UIC1.