Flames Edged by Wright State in Regular Season Finale, 68-61
March 1, 2014
CHICAGO - The UIC men’s basketball team (6-24, 1-15) put up a tough fight against the Horizon League’s third-place team in Wright State (18-13, 10-6) on Saturday afternoon, but the Raiders eventually prevailed with a 68-61 regular season finale victory. WSU earned the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, which sends No. 9 seed UIC to No. 4 seed Valparaiso on Tuesday night for a first-round contest.
The Flames were paced by senior Kelsey Barlow who scored 16 points, his 22nd double-digit game of the season. Senior Jordan Harks added 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Barlow, Harks and Hayden Humes were recognized during a pre-game ceremony that honored the trio of seniors.
“Today was a tough loss,” said Head Coach Howard Moore. “I am extremely proud of our three seniors and the way they kept working this season. They never gave up when it would’ve been easy to. Our season continues on Tuesday and we will come ready to play.”
Barlow picked up two fouls less than four minutes into game and sat for the majority of the first half. Despite his absence, UIC owned a 33-32 lead at the break. The Flames were down 16-9 in early goings, but an 11-0 run brought them back into contention. Freshman Pat Birt led all scorers in the first half with 10 points and finished the game with 12.
The Flames build their lead up to 40-35 by the 16:01 mark of the second half after Humes drained his 126th career trey. The Raiders answered with a 12-0 run to go in front by seven, but the Flames countered with seven straight points to knot the score at 47-47 with 10 minutes left to play. Barlow hit a triple at the 8:40 mark to put the Flames up by one, however that proved to be UIC’s final field goal of the day.
On the heels of an 8-0 spurt, the Raiders went ahead five and then extended that lead out to 62-55 with 3:56 on the clock. UIC converted six straight free throw attempts to pull within three as 30 seconds remained. WSU gave the Flames one final chance after they turned the ball over on an in-bounds play. Barlow had two looks from behind the arc that would’ve tied the score, but his attempts were off the mark.
Junior Jay Parker played a career-high 39 minutes and swiped a team-season high five steals. He also added eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
As previously mentioned, the Flames will travel to No. 4 seed Valparaiso on Tuesday for first-round action. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT. The Crusaders were defeated in their regular season finale on Saturday at home by Cleveland State, 63-52.