Second Half Comeback Falls Short at Loyola, 69-60

Senior point guard Gary Talton
Senior point guard Gary Talton

Feb. 16, 2013

Loyola 69, UIC 60 (Final Box)Get Acrobat Reader

CHICAGO - The UIC men's basketball team trimmed a 16-point second half deficit to just four points, but Loyola out-scored the Flames 13-8 in the final 6:35, leading to a 69-60 win over UIC at Gentile Arena Saturday afternoon. The Ramblers' Christian Thomas poured in 23 points on nine field goals to lead all scorers.

With the setback, UIC dropped to 15-11 on the season, with a 6-7 Horizon League mark. Loyola improved to 14-12 (4-9 Horizon) and secured the regular season split against the Flames.

"Hats off to Loyola," said head coach Howard Moore. "They really came out with a purpose tonight, and they did it short-handed. Jordan Hicks refused to let his team lose, and I've been praising Christian Thomas all year long for his toughness. Loyola is a tough team that was willing to do whatever it takes to get a win, and they definitely accomplished that today."

Sophomore wing Marc Brown came off the bench to score a team and season-high 13 points, while senior point guard Gary Talton and junior forward Hayden Humes each chipped in 10. Thomas' 23-point outburst came on a 9-of-16 effort from the field; he also corralled game-high 11 rebounds. Jordan Hicks added 18 points, while freshman Devon Turk scored 10. Talton also dished out eight assists against just one turnover.

Loyola led 36-23 at halftime after shooting a collective 51.9 percent from the floor. Thomas scored 12 points in the opening frame. The Ramblers broke an 8-8 tie with an 18-4 run, claiming a commanding 26-12 lead with 4:15 remaining in the stanza. Freshman Jake Wiegand, who scored six points in the game, and Joey Miller, combined for a pair of field goals in the final 2:46. But Thomas scored as the horn sounded, securing the Ramblers' 13-point lead heading into intermission.

The pace picked up at the outset of the second half, with both teams combining for nine field goals before the first media timeout (15:37). UIC pulled within single digits for the first time at the 11:36 mark, when Brown hit two free throws coming out of the under-12 media break. UIC went on a 13-9 run over the ensuing five minutes, pulling within 56-52 (6:35) after a three-pointer from senior guard Daniel Barnes.

UIC forced a defensive stop on the next possession after Crittle blocked Turk's three-point attempt from the right wing. But Thomas corralled the offensive rebound and made the ensuing layup, pushing Loyola's lead back to six (58-52). Crittle converted a pair of free throws with 5:22 remaining to move UIC back within four points, 58-54. But Hicks answered with a layup of his own, extending the Ramblers' lead to 60-54 with 4:44 left. The Flames could draw no closer down the stretch.

The Flames finished the second half shooting 51.7 percent from the floor on 15 field goals. Loyola out-scored UIC 36-32 in the paint, and held a 35-30 advantage on the boards.

UIC will wrap up its four-game Horizon League road trip next Wednesday (Feb. 20), when the Flames travel to Milwaukee. The Flames posted a 60-50 win over the Panthers at the Pavilion on Jan. 23.