Men's Basketball Advances To Horizon League Finals With 79-68 Victory Over Detroit|
March 3, 2002
Cleveland, Ohio -It's an All-Chicago showdown in the Horizon League Men's Basketball Finals.
The University of Illinois at Chicago men's basketball team defeated Detroit, 79-68, in the Horizon League semifinals on Sunday evening at the Cleveland State Convocation Center.
The victory will mark UIC's first appearance in the conference finals since the 1997 season when Butler edged the Flames, 63-62, in head coach Jimmy Collins' first season.
The Flames (19-13) will square off with Loyola (17-12) on Tuesday night at 6:00 PM for the right to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Loyola defeated UW-Green Bay, 63-57, in the other semifinal contest.
"I think it's great for the city of Chicago and for the conference," Collins said. "I think our players probably know Loyola better than I do.
"It will be a great game."
Senior Jordan Kardos, who had not converted a field goal in the previous two ball games, led UIC with a game-high 24 points. Senior Cory Little notched his second career double-double of the season as he scored 11 points and ripped down 11 boards.
UIC shot a blistering 51 percent (23-for-45) from the field, while Detroit (18-13) was held to 33 percent (23-for-70). The Titans' potent trio of Willie Green (17 points), Terrell Riggs (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Greg Grays (10 points) shot a combined 15-for-51 from the field.
Kardos (10 points) and Little (6 points) got things rolling for UIC early on as they combined for 16 points to give the Flames a 16-3 lead at the 14:39 mark of the first half. UIC extended that lead to 39-25 as they headed into the intermission.
"Tonight Martell (Bailey) was penetrating and I think Detroit just fell asleep," Kardos said. "I just got some good looks and I pulled the trigger."
Detroit, however, would not go away quietly as Green scored six points to lead a 13-3 run by the Titans as they pulled to within 50-44 with 10:25 left in the ball game.
UIC, however, countered with a 9-1 run of their own, which was capped off with a clutch three-pointer from Little at the top of the key to give the Flames a 57-45 lead and put the game out of reach for Detroit.
"From my perspective, it was the best team effort we've displayed all year," Collins said. "Jordan (Kardos) and Cory (Little) got us off strong and Cedrick's defense on (Greg) Grays helped key the win."