Flames Outlast Youngstown State in HL Opener, 65-60

Senior point guard Gary Talton
Senior point guard Gary Talton

Jan. 2, 2013

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CHICAGO - Senior point guard Gary Talton scored a game-high 19 points, including eight in the final 2:33, leading the UIC men's basketball team to a 65-60 win over Youngstown State in the Horizon League opener for both teams Wednesday night at the Pavilion. UIC held the Penguins to just a 37 percent output from the field, improving to 6-0 at home on the season.

With the win, UIC snapped a three-game losing streak, and improved to 10-4 (1-0 Horizon) on the season. YSU dropped to 8-6 and 0-1.

"I thought we did a nice job of getting ourselves readjusted and refocused tonight," said head coach Howard Moore. "This was a gritty win against a very good Youngstown team. It's great to have a steady guard like Gary (Talton) who can get the team settled down and get us the best shots possible. He made some big shots down the stretch himself."

Talton's 19 points came on seven field goals -he also handed out six assists against just one turnover, and pulled down four rebounds. Junior forward Hayden Humes added 15 points and seven rebounds, and senior center Josh Crittle chipped in 14 points to go along with seven boards. Senior guard Daniel Barnes contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. YSU was led by Kendrick Perry, who poured in 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

UIC posted a 42-33 advantage on the boards and dished out 16 team assists (23 field goals) for the second-straight game. The Flames scored 19 points off turnovers in a game that featured a combined 27 ties and lead changes.

YSU was the early aggressor, jumping out to a 16-8 lead through the opening 6:25. UIC pulled within 18-17 at the 8:30 mark, and took its first lead, 23-21, after Humes' fifth field goal (5:56). YSU reclaimed a 29-25 advantage with 3:50 remaining in the half, but the Flames scored the final four points of the frame, tying the score, 29-29 heading into the locker room at halftime.

UIC began the second half on an 8-2 run, opening up a 37-31 lead with 17:18 remaining - Crittle had four quick points during the stretch. After a timeout, the `Guins went on a 9-2 spree to claim a 40-39 lead at the 13:59 mark of the second half. There were a combined 16 ties and lead changes in the ensuing 11 minutes, but neither team led by more than three points.

Perry drilled a three-pointer with 3:27 remaining, pushing the Penguins back ahead by two, 57-55. Talton answered with a steal and transition layup on the other end, knotting the score at 57-57 with 2:33 left. After Crittle converted a pair of free throws to give the Flames a 59-57 advantage (1:57), YSU's Blake Allen gave the Penguins their final lead, drilling a three-pointer from the wing to make the score 60-59.

Talton hit the go-ahead three with just 17 seconds left (62-60), and went 3-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to secure the come-from-behind victory.

UIC will travel to Cleveland State next Monday (Jan. 7) beginning at 5:00 p.m. CST. The Vikings dropped a 72-55 non-conference decision versus Kent State Wednesday night, and will open Horizon League play Friday night at Valparaiso.