First-Place Cleveland State Defeats Men's Basketball, 70-42|
Feb. 5, 2012
With the setback, UIC drops to 7-16 (3-10 Horizon) on the season, while Cleveland State maintained sole possession of first-place in the leading standings, improving to 20-4 and 10-2.
Senior center Darrin Williams scored a team-high 12 points for UIC, and was joined in double figures by sophomore forward Hayden Humes (11 points) and junior guard Daniel Barnes (10). Chicago native Jeremy Montgomery scored a team-high 14 points, including four three-pointers, to lead four Vikings scoring in double digits.
"I want to give credit to Cleveland State," said head coach Howard Moore. "Gary (Waters) has this team on the right path heading late into the season. They're the class of our league right now, and have really put together a group that can do a lot of things. They are difficult to prepare for with their pressure and their athletes. I told our guys after the game that we're not on Cleveland State's level yet. But as we continue to work, we're going to be on that path. Tonight just showed where we are compared to them as a program and as a team."
Cleveland State's smothering pressure defense was on display early in the game, allowing the Vikings to jump out to a 15-3 lead. But UIC bounced back, trimming the deficit to just six, 21-15, with 4:45 left in the first half. After a layup by Barnes, the Flames trimmed CSU's lead to only five, 22-17 (1:07). The Vikings' Trevon Harmon scored on a driving layup with 43 seconds left in the stanza, as CSU took a seven-point (24-17) lead heading into halftime.
Cleveland State built is lead back to double figures less than two minutes into the second half, and UIC could draw no closer than seven points the rest of the way. After the Flames pulled within 33-26 (15:52), CSU answered with a convincing 11-2 run, claiming a 44-28 advantage, and never looked back. The Vikings were 18-of-27 from the field in the second half.
UIC will travel north to Rogers Park next Saturday (Feb. 11), when the Flames take on rival Loyola at Gentile Arena beginning at 1 p.m. CST.