Men's Hoops Falls Short Against Wright State, 71-63

Senior forward Brad Birton
Senior forward Brad Birton

Jan. 6, 2011

Final Stats

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CHICAGO - Senior forward Paul Carter tallied his fifth double-double of the season, but the UIC men's basketball team dropped a hard-fought 71-63 decision versus Wright State in a Horizon League game at the UIC Pavilion Thursday night.

Carter scored a team-high 13 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for his second-straight double-double. Senior guard Dipanjot Singh added 13 points, while senior forward Brad Birton tallied his third double-digit scoring output during Horizon League play, contributing 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

Wright State (10-6, 3-1 Horizon) placed four players in double figures, led by preseason All-Horizon League pick Vaughn Duggins' 22 points - he was joined in double figures by seniors N'Gai Evans (21), Troy Tabler (10) and Cooper Land (10).

The Flames (5-11, 0-4) recorded a decisive 35-25 advantage on the boards, but Wright State scored 14 points off turnovers, and overcame a four-point second half deficit. "Getting off to a slow start, falling into a 9-0 hole, was difficult to deal with," said UIC head coach Howard Moore. "But we were able to settle down defensively, get some stops and take away some of their (Wright State's) action. We started to run our stuff, and got back into the game.

"In the second half, I thought we did a good job of taking the lead, but we wavered a little bit down the stretch, and didn't take advantage of our opportunities. Wright State has a great senior class; they've been together for four years, and have the confidence to step up in tough situations. They weathered the storm, and came up with some big plays late in the game."

Wright State came out of the gate firing from three-point distance, drilling three-straight treys to take a 9-0 lead. The Raiders stretched their lead to 19-9 (13:12), before the Flames countered with a 16-9 run to pull within 28-25 with 6:32 remaining in the opening half.

Carter split two free throws with 4:24 left in the opening stanza to pull within 31-29, and tied the game at 33-33 after Singh's second field goal. After Matt Vest gave the Raiders a 37-33 advantage with 10:01 remaining, Birton finished the half by hitting two free throws, trimming the deficit to 37-35 heading into the locker room at halftime.

The Flames opened the second half on a 9-3 run, grabbing a 44-40 lead with 16:06 remaining. The Raiders answered with a 7-3 spree, and re-claimed the lead (47-46) with 12:58 left. Evans and Duggins then added back-to-back field goals, pushing WSU's lead back to six, 52-46, with just over 11 minutes remaining.

Senior center K.C. Robbins scored just before the under eight timeout (8:01) to pull UIC back within two (54-52), and Singh hit both free throws with 6:03 remaining to make the score 56-54 in favor of the Raiders. But the Flames could draw no closer. Wright State out-scored UIC 12-7 over the final 5:47, going 6-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch.

UIC will host Detroit at the UIC Pavilion Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The Titans defeated host Loyola (83-71) Thursday night, improving to 3-1 in Horizon League play.