Flames Let Lead Slip Away in 59-56 Defeat at YSU

Harks had 15 boards at YSU. UIC's highest total since 2009 season.
Harks had 15 boards at YSU. UIC's highest total since 2009 season.

Feb. 15, 2014

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The UIC men’s basketball team (5-21, 0-12) dropped another heartbreaker on Saturday night at Youngstown State (14-13, 5-7) by a final score of 59-56 inside the Beeghly Center.  The Flames held a one-point lead with less than four minutes to play and also owned a 27-19 halftime advantage, but YSU senior Kendrick Perry was the difference maker with a game-high 31 points, including 23 in the second period.  Senior Kelsey Barlow paced UIC with 17 points, his 19th double-digit game of the season, and added six assists and five rebounds.  Senior Jordan Harks tied a career-high with 15 boards, UIC’s highest single-game total since Feb.27, 2009.

Freshman Markese McGuire got UIC rolling early in his first collegiate start by sinking a three-pointer to open the game.  The Flames jumped out to a 9-2 lead just over four minutes into the contest and limited YSU to just 1-of-10 shooting before the first media timeout.  McGuire drained his second triple of the night at the 10:49 mark of the first half to give UIC a 16-8 edge.  Just over two minutes later, freshman Pat Birt buried a three to put the Flames ahead by 11, their largest of the night.  Birt finished the contest with 15 points.

UIC held a 27-19 lead at the break against a Penguin squad that averages more than 77 points per game.  The Flames also limited YSU to a mere 21.7 percent shooting clip (6-of-28) in the first period and held the Penguins without a three.  Youngstown State did find points at the foul line, shooting 7-of-13, while UIC attempted zero free throws.  By game’s end, UIC had attempted four free throws compared to 30 for YSU.  The Flames were also whistled on 23 occasions in stark contrast to YSU’s eight total fouls.

Youngstown State opened the second half strong and used a 12-4 run to knot the score at 31-31 by the 15:45 mark.  The Flames reestablished control and held a 46-40 lead after a Barlow triple with 8:30 left to play.  That’s when YSU executed a 10-2 run that included eight points from Perry to go ahead 50-48 as 4:02 remained.  UIC took the lead back after Birt sank his third trey of the night.  Nineteen seconds later DJ Cole converted a jumper to put the Penguins in front permanently. 

UIC had a glimmer of hope once Barlow made good from long range with 1.7 seconds left to cut YSU’s lead down to one.  Perry then hit both free throws at the opposite end with less than one second to play.  Senior Hayden Humes rifled a full-court pass from out-of-bounds to a waiting Barlow who attempted a last-second three that clanked off the iron.  

UIC heads back to the hardwood on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at home against Detroit.  Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT.