Men's Basketball Eliminated From Horizon League Championship By Milwaukee
March 2, 2010
MILWAUKEE - The 2009-10 season for the UIC men's basketball team came to a conclusion on Tuesday night, when the Flames fell to Milwaukee, 73-67, at U.S. Cellular Arena in the first round of the 2010 Speedway Horizon League Men's Basketball Championship.
Three players scored 12 points for the Panthers (19-13).
After both teams played to a 35-35 deadlock in the first half, Ricky Franklin opened the second stanza by drilling a three-pointer and netting a driving lay-up on the following possession to give the Panthers a five-point lead, 40-35, and an advantage that they would not surrender.
Franklin picked up his fourth foul with 12:28 to play in the game and headed to the bench. With their starting point guard on the bench, the Panthers opened up the lead to nine points, 59-50, with 7:41 to play when freshman guard Lonnie Boga converted an old fashioned three-point play.
The Flames cut the lead down to six points at 65-59 when Kreps buried his second three-pointer of the contest with four minutes to play.
Franklin fouled out of the game with 1:51 to play and UIC's Chris Buchanan converted a pair from the free-throw line to pull UIC to within three of the hosts, 66-63.
With the help of full-court pressure and fast hands, the Flames came up with three big steals in the final three minutes, none bigger than the one by Neely with 1:28 to play. The sophomore took the ball away from the Panthers and was fouled by Ja'rob McCallum. Neely made both free throws to cut the Milwaukee lead to one point, 66-65.
The next time down the floor, Milwaukee big man James Eayrs put back a miss in-close from Patrick Souter and made a free throw to give the Panthers a four-point advantage with 1:03 to go.
Eayrs was a perfect six-for-six from the charity stripe in the final minute to put the game on ice for Milwaukee.
"I was pleased with the effort the team put forth," said UIC head coach Jimmy Collins after the game. "Milwaukee is a very good basketball team from top to bottom. They're big, they're aggressive and they shoot it from all positions."
UIC forced 21 Milwaukee turnovers, the second most for any opponent this season. However, UIC may have been too aggressive on defense at times, according to their head coach.
"I thought we did a good job of getting them in trouble," said Collins. "That said, anytime you lose three players [to disqualifications], it's a tough game."
Three players fouled out of the contest for the Flames and in total, UIC committed 28 fouls and sent the Panthers to the free-throw line 38 times on Tuesday night, 24 in the second half alone.
UIC led by as many as 10 in the first half, with Buchanan scoring nine of the bench after coming in for Neely, who picked up two quick fouls early after he scored five right off the bat. Kreps and Neely also finished the first half with nine.
Tuesday's loss was the first time UIC was defeated in a Horizon League Championship first round game, having gone a perfect 5-0 in previous first round contests.