Flames Run Away from Cleveland State, March onto HL Quarterfinals
March 5, 2013
CHICAGO- The fifth-seeded UIC men's basketball team jumped out on No. 8 Cleveland State early, and saw five players score in double figures, leading to an 82-59 win over the Vikings in the first-round of the Horizon League Tournament at the Pavilion Tuesday night. With the win, UIC advanced to the quarterfinals, where the Flames will take on fourth-seeded Green Bay Friday night beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the Athletics-Recreation Center in Valparaiso, Ind.
UIC improved to 17-14 on the season, the most overall wins since the 2007-08 campaign (18). Cleveland State was eliminated from the postseason, ending its season with a 14-18 overall record.
Senior center Josh Crittle was a force inside, scoring a game and career-high 20 points, including a 10-for-12 effort from the free throw line. Senior guard Daniel Barnes continued his torrid shooting from three-point range, scoring 16 points on four three-pointers. Senior point guard Gary Talton chipped in 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while sophomore wing Marc Brownscored 10 points off the bench. CSU was led by point guard Charlie Lee, who scored 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
"Our guys came out aggressive and willing to impose their will tonight," said head coach Howard Moore. "The result is a pretty resounding victory. But we're not satisfied. We're ready to move onto the neutral site at Valpo, and see what this team can do."
UIC jumped out to a commanding 23-4 lead through the opening 10 minutes, and with 7:01 remaining in the first half, the Flames led by 21 points, 30-9. Cleveland State began applying full-court trapping pressure down the stretch of the half, and pulled within 10 points (36-26) after going on an opportunistic 17-6 run. Talton made a deep jumper from the right wing as time expired in the half, giving the Flames a 44-30 lead heading into the locker room at intermission.
The Flames scored the first four points of the second half, forcing CSU into a timeout just 2:23 into the frame. UIC's lead never dropped below 13 points for the remainder of the contest, reaching a game-high 25-point margin (77-52) with 4:58 remaining.
The Flames shot 49.1 percent (27-55) from the floor, their most efficient offensive output since Nov. 19 against Iona. UIC also tied its team season-high with seven blocks. Ten players cracked the scoring column for the Flames.
UIC will play Green Bay in the second quarterfinal on Friday - the game will be preceded by third-seeded Wright State facing off against No. 6 Youngstown State at 5:00 p.m. The Penguins escaped with a 62-60 win over No. 8 Loyola Tuesday at the Beeghly Center.
"We saw Green Bay not too long ago and there is familiarity there," Moore said. "We both know what the other team wants to do. We'll refresh our memory about their philosophy and style of play. It's going to be another test of wills and we'll be prepared for a big challenge on Friday night."