Flames Stifle Milwaukee in Second Half, Topple the Panthers 60-50

Sophomore center Will Simonton
Sophomore center Will Simonton

Jan. 23, 2013

UIC 60, Milwaukee 50 (Final Stats)Get Acrobat Reader

CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team completed a spirited comeback, holding visiting Milwaukee to just eight second half points in a 60-50 win over the Panthers in a Horizon League game at the Pavilion Wednesday night. The eight points in the second half represents a UIC Pavilion defensive record.

Overall, UIC improved to 12-8, with a 3-4 Horizon League record. Milwaukee dropped to 5-15 and 1-5. UIC equaled its entire Horizon League win total from the 2011-12 campaign, and snapped a 10-game losing streak against Milwaukee.

"I'm really proud of the guys, and the effort that they showed in the second half," said head coach Howard Moore. "I like the fight we had, and it came from a lot of different people. This was a tremendous team win.

"I thought the zone (defense) really slowed them (Milwaukee) down, and our guys did a good job of being active on the defensive end. We were a bit short-handed tonight with Marc (Brown) and Danny (Barnes) out of the lineup, but that's what good teams do. The next guy steps up and gets the job done."

UIC overcame a 17-point (42-25) halftime deficit. Senior point guard Gary Talton led all scorers with 14 points, and was joined in double figures by sophomore guard Joey Miller (12 points), sophomore center Will Simonton (career-high 10) and senior forward Anthony Kelley, who doubled up the Panthers with a career-high 10 points and career-best 11 rebounds. Milwaukee was led by senior guard Paris Gulley, who scored 14 points on six field goals.

UIC trailed 42-25 at intermission after Milwaukee converted eight threes, and shot 48.4 percent from the field. Jordan Aaron and Gulley both scored 13 points on a combined 9-of-18 shooting, including six three-pointers. Simonton scored six first-half points for UIC in a total of 13 minutes. Junior forward Hayden Humes and senior center Josh Crittle were both limited to just 10 minutes of action, after each picked up two fouls, and were relegated to the bench until halftime. Milwaukee held the lead for the final 16:10 of the first frame.

UIC's defensive adjustments, which included a mix of zone and full-court pressure, were on glaring display early in the second half. Milwaukee still led by 17 points (46-29) with 15:38 remaining, but UIC went on a commanding 11-0 run over the ensuing 5:06, pulling within 46-40 with 11:32 left - the spurt was capped off with a corner three-pointer by Kelley, and put back in the post by freshman forward Jake Wiegand.

The Panthers reclaimed a 50-41 advantage after a layup by Demetrius Harris, but UIC did not allow Milwaukee to score a single point in the final 9:39. The Flames claimed their first advantage of the second half with 1:35 remaining after Talton drilled a three-pointer from the left wing. He followed with a scoop and score on the ensuing possession, extending the Flames' lead to 54-40 with 37 seconds left. Talton and Kelley combined to go 4-for-4 from the free throw line down the stretch. Sophomore wing Marc Brown was sent home from the arena suffering from flu-like symptoms, and senior guard Daniel Barnes sat out the game with a leg injury. He suffered the injury during pre-game warm-ups last Saturday at Detroit. Barnes dressed and was available, but was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons.

UIC will look to capture its first Horizon League road win of the season Saturday, when the Flames travel to Dayton, Ohio to take on Wright State (6:00 p.m.). The Raiders dropped a 68-61 decision at Youngstown State Wednesday night.