Flames Outlast Wright State, 60-55|
Feb. 26, 2013
Daniel Barnes, who chipped in 13 points.
With the win, UIC improved to 16-13 on the season, with a 7-8 mark in Horizon League play. Wright State dropped to 18-11 and 9-6. The Flames secured the regular season sweep over the Raiders, after defeating WSU, 55-49 at the Nutter Center on Jan. 26.
UIC clinched its first postseason home game since the 2007-08 season (March 4, 2008 vs. Youngstown State). The Flames' 16 wins also represents the most overall victories since the 2008-09 campaign. Barnes' 13 points came on a 5-for-8 effort from the field, including a pair of three-pointers. Junior forward Hayden Humes added 10 points on a trio of three-pointers. WSU was led by JT Yoho, who scored 16 points to lead three Raiders in double figures.
"With two of the top defensive teams in the League, we knew it wasn't going to be pretty tonight," said head coach Howard Moore. "We had to claw and fight to get this `W.' Our guys really stepped up. We're playing a lot of guys right now to keep everyone fresh, and I thought everyone that played gave us a little something tonight. I'm proud of my guys.
"It feels great to be able to officially clinch a home game in the Horizon League Tournament. We've been battling for three years now, trying to get this program on the right path. It's never easy, but we're heading in the right direction; and all of the credit goes to our players. We're not at all satisfied, and we've got a long way to go. But it's a good thing for our program and our fans."
Both teams entered the locker room tied at 27-27 at halftime. UIC was the early aggressor, jumping out to a 15-6 lead (13:37) after Humes connected on three-straight three-pointers. But Wright State clawed back, tying things up, 22-22, after a triple by Miles Dixon (5:55).
The Raiders claimed their first lead of the game with 5:15 remaining in the opening stanza after Kendall Griffin drilled a transition three-pointer. UIC ended the half on a 4-0 spree, including a corner three by Jake Wiegand. Humes' nine points in the first half led all scorers.
WSU scored the first four points of the second half, opening up a 31-27 lead with 18:27 remaining. The Flames claimed their first lead of the half, 36-34, after Brown's second three-point play opportunity of the stanza. UIC stretched its advantage to 49-38 with 9:15 remaining after completing an 11-2 run.
UIC led by at least five points over the ensuing six and a half minutes, before Yoho drove the length of the floor and converted off glass to pull the Raiders within four, 54-50, with 2:39 remaining. After a pair of free throws by senior point guard Gary Talton, Yoho hit a three-pointer with 14 seconds remaining to slice UIC's advantage to just three (58-55). Talton drilled two free throws on the other end to put the game out of reach.
UIC will wrap up its regular season on Saturday, when the Flames challenge Detroit at the Pavilion beginning at 1:00 p.m. It will mark the final regular season home game for seniors Barnes, Talton, Josh Crittle and Anthony Kelley.